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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Making Waves

Published July 30, 2012 12:30 PM by Rebecca Mayer

With the Summer Olympics in full swing, attention has understandably been drawn to the swimming accomplishments of American hopefuls Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. But back on United States soil -- or rather in U.S. waters -- another swimmer is making waves.

38-year-old Craig Dietz competed in the Pittsburgh Triathlon this past weekend as part of a three-man relay. Dietz, who was born with stubs for arms and legs, finished the 1.5k swim in the Allegheny River in 29:16. The time was a personal best.

Despite being born without limbs, Dietz was a very active kid and began swimming at an early age. He also bowled in a league and enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing percussion in the school band, and was a member of the High School honor society.

"Bob," the name of the relay team, is an example of Dietz's lighthearted approach to life. As Dietz likes to joke, Bob is what you call a man in the water who has no limbs.

Dietz first competed in the Pittsburgh Triathlon in 2008 and immediately became hooked on the competition of triathlon and open water swimming. In 2010, Dietz finished the swim in 30:14, beating 140 able-bodied competitors.

Last month, Dietz competed in the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, a grueling 4.4 mile swim, for the second time.

As a former competitive swimmer, I can appreciate the training, dedication and skill that contribute to his many accomplishments. As much fun as it is to watch Olympic records being smashed, I personally cannot wait to see which body of water Dietz conquers next.

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