She is the captain of the water polo team and is ranked third on the girls’ swim team. She strives to succeed like any other athlete, but senior Summer Scown has an obstacle that makes her quest for success a little more difficult.
Scown has left hip dysplasia, causing her left hip to be completely out of place. Already having endured 12 surgeries, including one on her right knee, she faces an entire hip replacement by the time she is 30.
When she goes to competitions, students from other schools sometimes stare.
“I have a lot of people judge me when I am walking up to the dock and I am about to race with my team on a relay,” Scown said. “The reason that I like my friends that are on the team is because they see me in a swim suit and they see my scar and they do not judge me.”
Confused looks from competing swimmers used to affect Scown, but it no longer bothers her.
“A lot of people without a disability can’t do what I can,” she said.
She has been to the Junior Olympics three times, and she is trying out for the Olympic Development Program this year. Scown’s favorite event is the 100 butterfly or the 400 individual medley. However, she said her strongest event is the butterfly because she uses both her arms and her legs stay together.
Scown has seen people without arms or complete leg function race, and said that she is motivated by their persistence.
“Nothing prevents me from going after my goals,” she said. “Everyone has bad days, but I will always keep my head in the game. I would rather swim and do the best I can and get out of the race and say ‘I don’t even care if I got last.’”
Scown has been swimming since she was four years old and joined the school team as a freshman. She says that she will always swim and hopes to compete with the team at St. Francis College in New York next year.
“It really doesn’t matter about statistics, because it is just a number,” she said. “It is how you feel about yourself because the number isn’t there forever. You can always overcome it. It is what you feel inside and what you want to do with your life.”
Junior Raena Eldridge said that Scown is really competitive when she wants to be and if there is something that she wants, she is going to go for it.
Head Swim Coach Paul Wallace said Scown works hard, and she loves racing.
“Summer is organized and responsible,” senior and captain of the swim team Megan Conner said. “She will always help those who need help and she keeps things organized so she can manage school, swim, and her outside life all at the same time.”
(Editor’s Note: This story is submitted by The Stinger, the student newspaper for Rockwall High School. It is sent to us by the newspaper staff and unedited by the Herald-Banner.)