Deaf swimmer making waves

Grace Hale ready to compete, win in Deaf World Swimming Games

SAN ANTONIO – A 15-year-old girl from San Antonio will be the only swimmer taking part in the the Deaf World Swimming Games coming to the Alamo City later this month.

"I am really proud," said Nathan Hale, Grace's dad.

Grace has been swimming since she was 7 years old and developed the desire to compete. Grace was able to hear early in life but by the time she turned 10 she was completely hearing impaired, but that didn't stop her.

"Just work to be as good as the other hearing people," Grace said.

"I am actually in awe of her determination and resilience," said Rachel Woodard, Grace's coach at Streamline Aquatics.

The determination has been proven just by the way she first learned to get off the blocks. Grace would have to peak over at her competitor for her cue to go and that put her at a disadvantage.

"You have to get off fast," Grace said. "I would say I dropped time, yeah." 

These days, Grace uses a strobe light. When the sound goes off, the light goes off and she takes off. That is the biggest difference other than the fact she can't hear the cheers of the crowd, her family or her coaches.

"I will cheer for myself, I know my parents are out there cheering for me," Grace said.

While the Deaf World Games will be her biggest competition so far, it is only the beginning.

"I am hoping eventually to get to the junior nationals for the normal swimmers, I want to get better in the hearing world," Grace said.

"I think we should all keep our eyes on Grace because I don't think this is going to be the last time we see her," Woodard said.

About the Author:

David Sears, a native San Antonian, has been at KSAT for more than 20 years.