Friday, April 9, 2010

Ketchum salutes Amanda Walton’s achievement

Paralympic gold medalist earns a day


Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall pretty much said it all Monday night before a regular Ketchum City Council meeting: "There just aren't too many times we get to talk about good things. And this is a great thing."

Then Hall proceeded to read a proclamation declaring Monday, April 5, 2010 as "Amanda Walton Day" in Ketchum.

Hall's proclamation honored her remarkable athletic achievements, and her overall inspirational presence in the Wood River Valley community.

Walton, who turned 30 March 25, won three gold medals during the U.S. Paralympics Spring Can-Am Swimming Championships held March 25-27 at Palo Alto College Natatorium in San Antonio, Texas.

In her first national competition, and in only her second year of swimming, "Mands" Walton captured the gold in the 50-yard, 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle events.

What she accomplished was a matter of overcoming physical handicaps with true athletic spirit, Hall said in the proclamation. And Walton's parents, Candy and Jay Walton, were the first to say that Amanda's achievements are also a celebration of the community.

Her support group, "Team Amanda Walton" at San Antonio included her Zenergy "Zen Masters" swim coach Karen Morrison, caregiver Sara Colwell and Ketchum Councilman Larry Helzel, in addition to her devoted family.

Walton was an All-American field hockey and lacrosse player as a sophomore at Yale University 10 years ago when she suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident on May 28, 2000.

Her car was struck by a motorist fleeing police in a high-speed chase. Walton was in a coma for two and a half months, and has since been confined to a wheelchair. Part of her rehabilitation was practice walking in a pool, but because of her competitive background and nature, she tried to swim in the last two years while living here in Ketchum. It has worked out.

"Every time I get in the pool, I swim my best," she has said. "One should never give up."

Many days, if you're looking for Walton, you can find her at the Zenergy pool with coach Morrison, who has spent countless hours of training with her.

Two videos about Walton and her experience in San Antonio were shown Monday night as part of the "Amanda Walton Day" proclamation at Ketchum City Hall.

The video that Amanda's brother David Walton shot is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_6y1Sp6IfU, and the CBS segment from the San Antonio affiliate of the network is at: http://www.kens5.com/great-day-sa/Achieving-A-Dream-89929027.html.




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