Perseverance In The Pool Pays Off For Paralympic And Collegiate Swimmer
By Jacqueline LeBlanc
Cailin Currie’s philosophy in life is simple, “You shouldn’t let anything stop you from getting what you want or who you want to be.”
Currie, a U.S. Paralympic athlete and D-1 swimmer at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, was born blind and did not gain any vision until she was a year old.
“I actually didn’t enjoy the water at first because I couldn’t see what I was doing,” Currie said. “But, soon after, I really enjoyed it, because I feel like I’m free.”
Still, she trained hard to become an elite swimmer and eventually earned a spot on the U.S. team that competed in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
“Probably the thing that most impresses me is that she is always trying to go faster,” Erin Camman, Currie’s coach at Merrimack College, said. “Swimming is a grinding sport, so having that kind of attitude takes you places.”
Currie didn’t medal in the Olympics, but she gained valuable experience swimming the 100-meter freestyle, butterfly and backstroke, and the 400-meter freestyle.
“That was an amazing experience. I was so proud to be able to represent my country and compete on the Olympic stage. To be there with some many people from so many different countries is something that I’ll never forget.”
During her junior year at Merrimack, she swam the opening leg for the Warrior’s 400-meter freestyle relay, and posted the team’s best time in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the Northeast Conference Championships in 2020.
She followed that up as a part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team that set a program record with a time of 7:58.10 at the 2020 conference championship
“I love it here. My teammates don’t treat me differently and I love it that way. I just want to be like everyone else.”
Camman, Currie’s coach, said a lot of kids are getting involved in paralympic swimming at young ages, just like Currie did.
“And now she’s on deck, swimming at a collegiate level, as well as at the top level with the Paralympic organization — you’ve got these kids who are just starting out who are 7, 8, 9 years old, and they’re at these meets, too,” Camman said. “So it’s fun for them to see people who have been involved with the group, you know, for a decade.”
Currie is currently on the national paralympic B team and is training to compete in the Tokyo Paralympic Games which will now take place in 2021. Until then, Currie continues to swim while being an inspiration to others.
“Anything is possible,” she says. “Work hard and you can achieve all your dreams, too.”