For One Paralympic Swimmer, it's George (and Endless Pools) to the Rescue
Families in need can call for George to the Rescue. That's the name of the syndicated NBC show in which host George Oliphant and his team renovate homes for deserving families. And for 15-year-old blind swimmer Anastasia Pagonis, it's meant an Endless Pools® Performance model in her garage!
"When I'm in the water, I feel free. That's the only place," says, Tas, as she's called. "I don't have my cane; I don’t have anything. I'm just swimming through the water without anything, and I'm completely free."
Tas Adjusts Her Olympic Dreams
When Tas started to swim at age 11, she was fully sighted. At 12, symptoms of the rare Stargardt's disease first manifested, and her vision began to progressively decline.
By November 2018, she was experiencing depressive symptoms that worried her parents. Her dad began to get more involved, exercising with her to get her moving and out of the house. As her mood lifted, "It was like she became a superhero," her mom reports.
As a blind swimmer, Tas earned two gold medals at the 2017 U.S. Paralympics Can-Am Open. She went on to win silver and bronze medals at the 2018 Para Swimming World Series in Italy. This year, the U.S. Paralympic Committee selected her as one of just 48 swimmers on the 2019 U.S. National Team.
The Garage Pool
According to George, the renovation work in Tas' home was designed to "give her the independence and comfort she deserves" and "make life a little bit easier for her in her home." That included bringing some of her swim training home to save her (and whoever drives her) a two-hour commute plus wait times.
With Endless Pools' modular design, the Performance model could easily be installed in the family's existing garage. The Performance current is larger, smoother, and at its top speed, faster than our signature current. Tas can train at a pace of up to 1:05/100 yards on her own and without leaving home!
In-place swimming also affords unprecedented coaching opportunities. A swimming coach can get an up-close look at every aspect of the swimmer's stroke. Corrections can be made faster and more precisely than in a traditional pool.
As you'll see in the video's reveal, Tas was overjoyed with her new home training pool. It reinforced the mantra that she learned when rebounding from her vision loss: "Never stop dreaming."
A Custom Renovation for Tas
George and his team of contractors and designers assembled the garage pool as part of a larger home renovation. In response to Tas' light sensitivity, they built in indirect lighting and added high-tech window treatments. Since she can't see color, they redid her bedroom with a range of textures so she can enjoy it tactilely.
You can see the complete home renovation, along with added footage of Tas and George swimming against the Endless Pools current, by watching the full episode.