Ten Year-Old Swimmer Overcomes Fear, Brings Home Medals

Eighteen months ago, a friend asked ten-year old Joyce Klinner if she'd like to take swim lessons. Her grandmother, also named Joyce, said "Sure."

"I can't quit smiling about it, it's just unbelievable to me," grandmother Joyce Klinner says. "I thought she'd have a few swim lessons and that would be the end of it."

She's learned a lot in that year and a half. Joyce just came back from the YMCA state tournament, where she wound up third and brought home thirteen medals.

"It's really impressive, but I'm not really all that surprised," her swim coach Barbara Otto says. "She had it."

"I can't put it into words, you just know it."

For Joyce and her grandmother, the water is just another obstacle they've conquered.

"Joyce lost her mother in a car accident when she was just a year old," swim coach Tim Krizan explains. "Her grandparents have raised her. She's overcome a lot of obstacles."

"I think we have a pretty good bond," grandmother Joyce says. "I really do. We have our mother-daughter go-rounds, but overall we do a lot of things together."

Eighteen months, ninety-three ribbons, and twenty medals later, Joyce continues her drive to be the best in the water, while grandmother keeps driving her out to practice, cheering her on from the shade.

"It makes me proud," ten year-old Joyce says, "that someone actually cares for me and wants me to do good."

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.