If there is a will, there is a way, and it can be found in the water for the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Team.
This year's World Para Swimming Championship, set in Mexico City, starts Saturday. Several Paralympic athletes at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center will finally make the trip after enduring a two-month delay of the competition, due to an earthquake that struck the city in mid-September.
"I'm really excited and honored to be on the world championships team," said Sophia Herzog, an OTC resident who is a dwarf swimmer. "I'm excited to see what I can do."
Standing 4-feet tall, the Paralympian surpassed many of her competitors in the water during the 2016 Paralympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. She won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke.
"Whether they're a dwarf, blind, or missing a leg, whatever it may be, it's not the disability that defines us, it's us that defines our disability," said Tharon Drake, who nabbed a silver medals in his division of the 100 and 400 breast in Rio.
Drake, 24, began losing his eyesight and was diagnosed with methylation disorder in 2008. He recalled that the last slivers of light passed through his eyes that summer, when he went completely blind.
"It was a new adventure, learning who you were and how far you're willing to go to chase a dream," said Drake, who continued swimming. "It took me about a full year to get to where I was faster, but once I figured it out, not only was I faster, I was a lot faster."
Drake described the water as a place of freedom from the outside world, a place shared by fellow teammates who find a life unlimited.
"The water is a place where I can let loose," said Roderick Sewell, 25, who made his first appearance with the team three years ago, when he won gold and bronze at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-swimming Championships.
Sewell was born missing the tibia in each of his legs and grew up with prosthetics for most of his life.
"I can swim however I want to swim," he said. "It's relaxing. It's freeing. It's a moment where I don't have to worry about what my legs have restricted for me."
The cost of Sewell's prosthetics forced his family to live homeless in San Diego when Sewell was a child.
"Going from homeless to now training at the Olympic Training Center, that's taking my life and putting it into my hands and doing what I can to better it," Sewell said. "Anybody else can do that, I'm not different than any other person."
Each member of the team has reached this team in a unique way.
"The story of my teammates of how they got here is so incredible. It's just an honor to share the pool with some of the stories that came from nothing," Herzog said. "They're competing on the international stage. They took accidents or injuries and made the most out of it."
For the first time, World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting will host their championships together. The swimming competition will take place Saturday through Dec. 7. Powerlifting events will also begin Dec. 2 and will end Dec. 8.
"That's the amazing thing with Paralympics," Drake said. "This person learned to conquer their disability. They're working with what they have and what they can do to become the best they possibly can."