CARROLLWOOD, Fla. (WFLA) – “She is the belle of the ball. She is the queen of our team.”
Jim Kelly, the head coach of the Carrollwood Village Swim Team, chose those words to describe one of his swimmers, Sky Steele.
“I love to swim,” Sky told News Channel 8 Sports’ Gabrielle Shirley. “All day in my life.”
Sky has Down syndrome but she also has a passion. She swims approximately 80 laps every morning by herself and she swims more laps every afternoon with her teammates.
“Everybody loves her,” said Sophia Hasara, who swims with Sky. “She is always here like every day.”
“She is really good at swimming,” said another teammate, Molly Polk.
“She is just so much fun to have around,” said Hasara. “In the middle of practice, she will just say something and it will make practice so much more fun and bearable. She is so fun.”
Sky, who is 25 years old, competes in the meets in the senior age group – and she can swim all four strokes. When she is not practicing her strokes, she is most likely doing her job inside the gym at Carrollwood Country Club.
“I am fairly confident at working in the gym,” Sky said. “Because I clean the mat. I clean a lot, sweep, I clean the seats.”
Despite the tasks at hand, the smile never leaves her face.
“She is an inspiration to everybody,” Kelly said. “She is, I mean honestly, probably one of my best friends. We spend more time together, more with her than anybody else probably. Because she is here every morning. And two days a week we eat lunch together. We are around all of the time. She is my buddy.”