Ali IngersollGrowing up in the Bahamas instilled in me a deep love of life on and around the water. However, after a diving accident in 2010 made me a C6 quadriplegic, my water life came to a crashing halt.

I passed the months in my Miami hospital room daydreaming about getting back in the water. My SCI stabilized, and I started to get stronger, but a pressure sore I had picked up after the accident raged on. The doctors told me aquatic therapy was not in the cards for me until the wound on my sacrum fully healed. Stuck in bed for nine months, all I could do was focus on healing my body, and I passed my time researching swim instructors. I counted down the days until I was given the green light to enjoy the water.

I have many friends who were paralyzed in water-related incidents and are too afraid to risk swimming again. I had the opposite reaction. I wanted nothing more than to experience that unique feeling of weightlessness that comes with floating in the water. I was ready to submerge myself at a moment’s notice — only maybe I wouldn’t dive this time