PHOENIX, Arizona, November 30. DAVE Denniston, SwimmingWorldMagazine.com’s Assistant Newsmaster, was recently honored on the USA Swimming Web site as a swimming idol. Certainly, Dave fits the mold as he is working feverishly toward walking again, following a sledding accident that left him paralyzed. Here is what ran on the USA Swimming site.
It’s always nice to hear good things from others. A while back, we posted a poll that asked who your Swimming Idol was. We asked you to nominate a person and give ten reasons why that person has touched your life and inspired you in and out of the pool. There was almost a unanimous winner. So Dave, this is for you.
Dave Denniston, American Swimming Idol
Dave, a graduate of Auburn University and 1999 NCAA Champion in the 200 breaststroke, was also a member of the 2003 US World Championship team. As an Irvine Novaquatics star, he placed 4th in the 100 breast and 6th in the 200 breast at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Denniston, now 26, was involved in a sledding accident near Laramie, Wyoming in late winter of 2005. He had no feeling in his legs, and had broken his back. He underwent surgery to fuse his T10 and T11 vertebrae together. He had a bone fragment in his spinal column. He begin rehab treatment following surgery to repair his spine.
Dave's parents reported that his famous sense of humor and his unfailing strength of character were still "very much intact." From there, Denniston has struggled along with rehab, still keeping that infectious sense of humor that he is known and loved for. You can find his daily journal on his website, which is fun and inspiring to read. But enough from us, let’s hear what you had to say.
*Few swimmers are truly worthy of “idol” status. Dave continues to inspire and motivate swimmers and non-swimmers of all ages. He has touched lives from the 5th grade class in little Sundance, Wyoming to swimming buddies’ kids in Australia. All in a positive way.
He will not pass the buck, finger-point, blame others, or otherwise dodge his own accountability for choices and actions he has made. He owns it all willingly. ~ The Baers
* He’s an amazing swimmer with beautiful strokes and a natural talent for swimming.
Davo, known as that to those who love him, is the most worthy “idol” you will ever meet. He is so genuine and sincere and has the greatest outlook on life.
Davo is a person that you would be proud to represent the swimming world as an idol. He is a great person inside and out, and it comes across in everything he does. ~ Kris Busse
* Even though Dave has suffered a traumatic injury that may leave him unable to work, he uses his knowledge and love of swimming to motivate both those in the swimming world and those of us who just keep up with him via his website journal.
Dave has used the tools he built while in the swimming world to guide him through his recovery phase. He is an inspiration to all who know him. ~ Jennifer Daniel
* Dave Denniston embodies everything that a competitive swimmer should strive for. During my college career as a teammate of Dave’s he never once put himself before the team and was always there if there was ever a problem. Even during a trying time like what Dave is experiencing right now his attitude has remained upbeat. To see someone bring so much happiness to a group of people was truly amazing. ~ Joe Gonzales
* He loves his sport, works hard at his sport and never gives up. ~ Seery Easton
* It is amazing how one person can influence an entire room full of people. After five minutes of listening to Dave speak at Auburn swim camp, I saw things a little clearer- everything made just a little more sense. Dave mad me realize that we should be thankful for the things that we have and the things that we can do, because we never know when those things can immediately be taken away form us. ~ Ashly Kieffer
* Every time he sported the red, white and blue, you knew our country was going to look good. He is a team player, and so much more. ~ Anonymous
* He has an amazing outlook on life and always manages to stay positive, no matter what is handed to him. He walks through life with a radiant smile that is quite contagious! ~ Mason Brown
* I think he’s just the coolest dude I have ever seen. And his journal rocks and is so positive, I feel like I know the guy, like he’s my bud. Makes my day a little cooler just checking in on him. ~ Pete Martin
* Dave has taught me true character and motivation by example after his paralysis accident. ~ Jessica Hardy, WR Holder in 100m Breaststroke
* He’s my son, and I’m incredibly proud of the man he has become. It is exciting to see him touching so many lives in such a positive way, and using the talent and body God gave him to get that done. ~ Tom Denniston