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Former Yale Swimmer Ali Truwit Makes US Paralympic Team Just One Year After Shark Attack

In a story that epitomizes resilience and the indomitable human spirit, Ali Truwit, a former Yale swimmer, has overcome unimaginable adversity to secure her place on the US Paralympic Team. Her journey from a life-threatening shark attack to becoming a beacon of hope and determination is nothing short of miraculous.

A Dream Vacation Turns into a Nightmare

Last summer, just two days after receiving her diploma from Yale University, Ali Truwit and her teammate, Sophie, embarked on what was supposed to be a celebratory trip to the picturesque Turks and Caicos. The former Yale swimming team members looked forward to relaxing and enjoying the tranquil waters. However, their idyllic snorkeling adventure turned into a living nightmare when a shark swam nearby and launched a sudden attack.

Recalling the terrifying moment, Ali said, “It had my leg in its mouth, and the next thing I knew, it had bitten my foot and part of my leg off.” Despite the excruciating pain and the shock of the attack, Ali’s survival instincts kicked in. Drawing on her years of swimming experience, she managed to stay conscious and calm. “I just immediately started thinking, stay conscious, stay together, get to the boat,” she said.

The Fight for Survival

With her leg severely injured, Ali fought back and swam 75 yards in open water to reach their boat. The skills she had honed throughout her swimming career played a crucial role in her survival. “Knowing how to swim and the fact that both Sophie and I knew how to swim and swim well completely saved our lives,” Ali reflected.

Once back on the boat, Sophie applied a tourniquet to Ali’s leg, a lifesaving act that stemmed the bleeding. Ali was then airlifted to a hospital in Miami, where she underwent two critical surgeries. The severity of her injuries required further medical intervention, and she was transferred to a hospital in New York. There, on her 23rd birthday, Ali’s leg was amputated below the knee.

A Passion Unbroken

The shark attack could have easily ended Ali’s relationship with the water, but her passion for swimming remained unwavering. “I felt like I had lost a lot through the shark attack, and I didn’t want to also lose my love of the water,” she explained. Driven by this love and her determination to overcome her new physical challenges, Ali embarked on a rigorous training regimen.

She began training two to four hours in the water every day, supplemented by an hour of strength training. Her dedication and resilience were evident as she pushed through physical and emotional barriers. The support of her family, especially her brothers and her dad, was instrumental in her recovery. They constantly reminded her of her inner strength and achievements, reinforcing her belief that she had already won by surviving and thriving.

Making History

A year after the attack, Ali’s hard work and perseverance paid off in a remarkable way. During the Paralympic Swim Trials, she not only secured her spot on Team USA but also broke the American record in the 100-meter backstroke. “I can’t wait to join you guys in Paris,” she announced with pride and excitement.

Staff
Staff
FaithIt staff contributed to this article.

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