Feel Good Story

17 year-old blind athlete and TikTok star takes Paralympic swimming gold

Sometimes your hobbies can take you far further than you might expect them to.

Anastasia Pagonis is a prime example of how commitment to a leisure activity can take you to incredible new heights, even while overcoming adversity. Though her eyesight started to diminish around age 11, Pagonis continued with her passion of swimming.

At first, she struggled to maintain her usual form, sometimes “struggling to make it across the pool without bumping into a lane”. However, Pagonis maintained a consistent schedule, and by connecting with her coach, Marc Danin, she was able to overcome not only her own hardship, but her competitors.

In fact, Pagonis recently made history at the Paralympics by setting a new world record in the S11 400-meter freestyle at 4 minutes and 54.49 seconds, a full 10 seconds ahead of the second-fastest swimmer.

Equally impressive is the other side of Anastasia’s fame. Before attending the 2021 Paralympics, she was already well known to millions as a TikTok star, answering often mundane questions around her physical disability.

While you may not fancy yourself as a TikTok celebrity, there’s a lot to be said for following your passions through – you never know where they might lead you!

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