Special Olympics: Swimmer Caroline Colianne - KMSP-TV

Special Olympics: Swimmer Caroline Colianne

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Everyone had a little hesitation the very first time they dove into a pool. Caroline Colianne was no different.

A confident Caroline will swim for team Illinois next month at the USA games in New Jersey.

"She’s my hero," said Michael Colianne, father of Caroline.

Michael can't say enough about his talented daughter, and the way Special Olympics has changed her life.

"Being involved with it has given her such a sense of self. It's built her own self-esteem, sense of teamwork, and just made her a better person all around," said Michael.

A better person and a better athlete, Caroline is an absolute shark in the pool. A serious swimmer with her sights set on the USA games in June.

"I would say one of the big plus's for Caroline is that she is a really hard worker. And really wanting to push herself and learn as much as she can every time when she is training. That is the great thing," said Caroline’s coach Leonard Woodson.

FOX 32 News asked Caroline how it feels to compete.

“Makes me feel good...get to know people and just have fun," said Caroline.

Having fun and meeting new people didn't always come easy for Caroline though. Her mother Jane said that all changed when she got involved in the Special Olympics.

“It gives her goals to reach. And just her self-esteem is so much better. And just the companionship and comradery of the team and everything. The coaches are fabulous,” said Jane.

“She’s like that little engine that could. She is just ready to go all the time. So that's one of the great things about her,” added Coach Woodson.

Caroline is also a talented track athlete and belongs to a theatre group.

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