17/06/2024

Paralympic swimmer trains for Paris 2024 Olympics

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Paralympic swimmer trains for Paris 2024 Olympics

Cali Prochaska is a Paralympic swimmer who's already had success with Team USA.

Cali Prochaska is a Paralympic swimmer who's already had success with Team USA.

IOWA (KNWA/KFTA) — Cali Prochaska is a Paralympic swimmer who’s already had success with Team USA.

The only thing missing is to be a part of Team USA on an Olympic stage.

“You jump in and you go underwater and everything kind of goes quiet,” Prochaska said.

For Cali Prochaska, the water is a happy place, an escape.

“Never really think of it as I’m better than you, you’re better than me. Just here to do our best individually. See where it ends up,” Prochaska said.

It’s also the great equalizer.

Cali was born in 2002 with proximal femoral focal deficiency. “I’m missing my hip, my femur, and my knee on the left side,” Prochaska said.

She had surgery in 2008 to turn her leg to better fit her prosthetic. It was during her physical therapy that she fell in love with being in the water.

“In 2013 I moved to, like, a summer league, and then I swam club. And then I got a letter from the USOPC in 2016 inviting me to come swim,” she said.

It was at the same Paralympic meet that years later, Kelly would cross paths with her current coach, Ben Colin, and teammate Olivia Chambers.

“So she’s one of the first athletes that we encounter. So we walk into the meet. They get the same warm-up playing together. Those two have never met and they kind of hit it off,” Colin said.

That meeting led Cali to transfer from Indiana-Fort Wayne and join the swim team at Northern Iowa.

“We got to try to increase the tempo and get comfortable with that fast tempo, even if we are sacrificing a little bit of catch at the moment. No matter what I read up on the board, she’s going to try to go at it which is something that I really admire about her,” Colin said.

As she prepares herself for the Paralympic trials in June, she’s leaning on her experiences during the last two Pan-American games and learning from the Paralympic trials in 2021.

“Four races, four medals. Can’t complain about that one,” Prochaska said. “I was just off the time I needed for Tokyo so I mean the world to come back and validate what I did three years ago.”

A goal, not just for her, but for all the people fighting in her corner.

“That’s the number one objective written on the wall. Like, we’re getting Cali to that point,” Colin said.

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