CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – “Hard work pays off.” That seems to be Brickelle Bro’s motto. The 15-year-old swimmer is about to head across the pond to compete in the Paralympics.
Brickelle is one of 20 female swimmers to represent the United States in the Paralympic Games in London this summer and she earned her place despite being born without feet.
“I’m still in shock. It’s such an honor to be representing our country,” Brickelle said. “To make sure I don’t get stressed out, everybody keeps telling me it’s like another meet. You go and swim just in front of a few more people.”
The Castle Rock Recreation Center is like Brickelle’s second home, with her parents close by the pool’s edge.
“Brickelle was born a fish, I think,” her mother, Heather Bro, told CBS4’s Andrea Lopez.
When Brickelle was born without feet, the first doctors told her parents she would never walk. They didn’t take that as a final answer.
“We were able to find doctors who said, ‘No we can get her to walk. We’ll get her on prosthetics and she’s got knees she’ll be able to walk. There’s no problem here,’ ” recalled Layne Bro, her father. “And then each step of the way we found doctors who were willing to help us and other people like her current coaches.”
Brickelle started using prosthetics before her first birthday, but when she hits the pool the devices are left behind.
She uses her legs to propel herself through the water and her strength has turned into the speed to place her as one of the top Paralympic women swimmers in the world.
Now the Bros are trying to raise money so Brickelle’s local coaches can also make the trip to London.
While those initial doctors may have cast doubt on Brickelle’s future, her parents never wavered.
“It’s a chance — like she says — to go represent the country,” Layne said. “Which is an amazing thing for anybody of any age.”
But for mom, all of Brickelle’s life sends a message.
“It works, it’s all going to be okay. It all works out and you can do whatever you want to do,” Heather said.
Brickelle is not resting on her Paralympic laurels.
“Every other year they have world championships. I’m hoping to make it onto that team.”