News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 18, 2009

Paralympian puts spirit on display for youth

TERRE HAUTE — A 30-year-old man in a wheelchair sang the “Slinky song” as kids stood by the pool in swimsuits, wiggling and giggling along, mimicking the famous toy.

But once in the water, the motions came together as 20 area kids got to see how Dave Denniston became a world champion.

“If not the best, one of the best breaststrokers in the world,” Terre Haute South Vigo High School coach Jeff Thompson said as Denniston himself got in the water to show the kids how it’s done.

Denniston was an Auburn University standout, World Championship swimmer and Olympic hopeful before a sledding accident in 2005 broke his back and paralyzed his legs.

But the lifelong athlete wasn’t about to surrender, and with a spirit Thompson described as “contagious,” Denniston has continued swimming and competed on the U.S.A. Paralympic Swim Team in Beijing last September.

“I think it’s an incredible experience for our kids to see someone like Dave,” Thompson said in the midst of a swim clinic hosted in the school’s pool. “Dave has a gift.”

“The key to the breaststroke is learning to use your body first without your arms and legs,” Denniston told the kids, ranging in age from 8 to 17.

Then, placing his left hand on his chest and his right on his back, Denniston snaked to and fro, singing about the Slinky.

“You’re never going to get a date to the prom that way,” he joked as the kids wiggled along in a wannabe lambada dance.

But once in the water, the song’s rhythm and flow made sense as the swimmers snaked across the pool.

Back and forth for sets of 25 and 100 yards, Denniston incorporated more aspects to the body movements, up to his “favorite drill of all time,” the accordion.

Placing one hand over the other, Denniston thrust the triangle off his forehead as his body’s arc rose and fell, thrusting itself across the water.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010