WESTON, Conn. — The Wilton Y Wahoos' own David Gelfand has his sights set on Rio.
Gelfand, who is a rising senior at Weston High School, said he’s ready for the swimming trials as he strives to make the U.S. Paralympic team. The trials begin next week in Charlotte, N.C.
“I definitely feel prepared and excited,” Gelfand told the Daily Voice. “I’m just really looking forward it and hoping I make the team.”
For the past few months, Gelfand has been swimming three mornings a week — once on Saturdays and twice during the week before school. Gelfand also swam two hours after school each day.
Twice a week, Gelfand trained in dry land workouts with the Wahoos. He also worked with a sports trainer.
In anticipation of the trials, Gelfand has been tapering down his workouts from 7,000 to 4,000 yards a day. He plans to taper his workouts in the coming days.
Gelfand has also learned to excel in the pool while learning to accommodate Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency, which left him born with a shortened femur in his left leg. He wears a prosthetic leg to walk. But that physical challenge hasn’t stopped him from competing in swimming at a high level.
“I’ve learned to be accommodate for it and adjust my technique and balance to be able to swim as efficiently as possible,” Gelfand said.
His coach, Todd Stevens, said Gelfand has made great improvements since he began training with the Wahoos at age 13.
“His coordination has gotten better and his strength has gotten to be so much better as a young man, which in a sport of swimming is awesome,” Stevens said.
Gelfand and Stevens plan to head to the trials, which are the largest in U.S. history and will be held from June 29 to July 2.
Founded in 1972, The Wilton Y Wahoo Swim Team was founded as an Age Group program and rapidly developed into a regional contender.
In 1977, the team adopted the name Wahoos, the fastest game fish in the ocean, and its legacy of achievement in the national and international arenas began.