5-year-old with Down syndrome shows passion for swimming

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- "We had no idea the potential that he had," Pam Stover-Mejias said.

For five-year-old Brodie Mejias swimming 25 meters, much less jumping in for a swim meet, seemed like a distant possibility even a month ago.

"It's something I didn't know that we could accomplish this year and we're not even at the end of the season and he's ready to dive in and swim down the pool," Stover-Mejias said, who is Brodie's mom.

Brodie was born with down syndrome and settled for watching his older brother Keegan swim before the Mejias family joined the Hollymead swim team a year ago.

"One of the other parents and knew that I had a younger son and she just encouraged me to put him on the team this year," Stover-Mejias recalled.

"I'm just glad my brother is on the same swim team as me," Keegan Mejias said, "I'm glad that he can be on the swim team."

So starting just a month ago, the Hollymead coaching staff made sure Brodie got his chance.

"I was on the side of the pool, the coaches were nervous," Stover-Mejias said, "I didn't know how he was going to do."

"The first week he could maybe do a 25 [meters] across the deep end and now he can do four or five and then do a jump and then do it again," Hollymead assistant coach Teddy Cross said.

Every stroke along the way, Brodie has changed the team around him.

"He has an infectious smile, which makes me smile and everyone else smile and his attitude is amazing towards the sport and towards other people," Cross said, "He loves people and he loves swimming."

But moments like finishing his first ever race on Wednesday night, started and began with the support from the Mejias' Hollymead family.

"He feels like part of a team for the first time ever," Stover-Mejias said, "There's no barriers, everyone includes him in every part of the activity."

"I'm really proud of him, I love that he's a really good swimmer and I love that he can swim," Keegan said about his brother, "I love that my swim team made it possible for him to swim."

And behind that infectious smile showing what a quick 25 meter swim can really mean.

"It's really shown me that swimming needs to be fun and not just about getting faster and he's really made it so much more fun for me," Cross said.

Brodie finished fifth in the 25 meter freestyle race and the Mejias family plans on seeing Brodie swim in their next meet.

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