Local teen heading to World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships

Amiera Black has been swimming most of her life — and it shows. She’s fast. So fast, the 16-year-old Huron County native, who now lives in Stratford, Ont. caught the eye of the Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Team.

“To be approached by the Canadian team and to be told, we think she qualifies to go to a World Championships, we were in shock,” says Amiera’s mother, Jennifer.

With her lightning fast strokes, Amiera has more than qualified for Canada’s entry into the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Portugal this October.

And it’s something she’s really excited about.

“A little bit nervous, but I’m really excited and happy,” she says, before jumping into the water at the Goderich YMCA pool for some practice Monday.

Amiera starting swimming at a five-months-old after watching her older brother at the pool. He’s now her coach, along with her mom. The grade 10 student swims about four times a week with an able bodied swim team in New Hamburg, as well as swimming at the Special Olympics.

“It’s a different level of competition, so she’s never really had exposure swimming with people with Down Syndrome, and with people who are at a competitive level, so this will be really, really exciting for all of us to see,” says Jennifer.

The trouble is, with little exposure, there’s no sponsorship or funding for the Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Team, leaving the Black’s to try and fundraise tens of thousands of dollars in order to make Amiera’s gold medal aspirations a reality. Admitting, that’s what she thinks about while training.

“Medals. I love medals,” she says.

Amiera and her family have so far already raised a little over $4,500 towards her $19,000 goal. To follow her journey you can visit her Facebook page or GoFundMe

You can also follow the entire Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Team on their Facebook page

“What would a gold medal, mean to you?” Scott asks Amiera. “First place? I’d be so happy,” she says with a huge smile.