Meliah Motchman is my friend. She is also a 27 year old woman living with Down Syndrome. I have been coaching Meliah through Special Olympics for over six years. Two years ago she asked if she could swim with me at the lake. She wanted to become an open water swimmer.
Meliah is a very social person. At first she would stop often during her swims to chit chat with other people in the lake. Over time, she learned how to focus and swim for longer periods without stopping.
For her first year as an open water swimmer Meliah a swam the 800 metre event at the Thetis Lake Swim. She did a wonderful job. When the summer was over she went back to pool swimming and I could see marked improvement in her focus.
Last winter Meliah had a life goal setting session. One of the goals she set for herself was to swim 5 kilometres in a lake. A few days later we met and she started training for her goal.
Throughout the season Meliah has spent time in the pool, lake and ocean. She has jumped in water as cold as 12 Celsius and swum in waves 2 to 3 feet high. She has embraced every challenge I have put in front of her with courage.
On Monday, August 5, 2019 at Thetis Lake Meliah achieved her life goal of swimming 5 kilometres in a lake.
Watch Meliah’s interview with CTV Vancouver Island.