Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Swimming toward success

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PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Port Washington High School girls swim team is coming off of its winningest season ever.

This is a big accomplishment all by itself.

But thanks to two freshmen on the team -- they're winning when it comes to inclusion, too.

Gliding through the water, each stroke and breath in a constant rhythm.

Sharla Plier.

"I just love it so much."

And Haley Leute.

"I've been swimming my whole life, but this is the first time doing competitive swimming."

They are just wrapping up their freshmen season on the Port Washington swim team.

"Go Sharla, go, go!"

Plier, swimming mostly freestyle this season.

"Let's go Haley!"

And Leute tackling the challenging fly.

Both girls know what it's like to overcome challenges. Leute is deaf.

"I lost my hearing when I was one to silent ear infection," she said.

Plier is a bilateral amputee.

"So I was born with tibia hemimelia," she said. "So I was missing my tibia bones when I was born."

"I'm a big believer in girls doing athletics at any level," said coach Dani Peiffer.

Coach Dani Peiffer says both swimmers have made adjustments to compete.

"Take your marks, beep."

Plier starts races in the water.

Leute depends on visual cues and works with an interpreter. She can't wear her cochlear implants in the water.

"Well, it is something different, but it really doesn't change anything," she said.

"Obviously, different adaptive needs. But what they share in common is really the desire to try a high school sport, to be a part of a team," said Peiffer.

And this team is close.

From the homecoming parade to special treat days -- the camaraderie is what has made this year so special.

"We know so much about each other that we're just like a family, honestly."

Team captain Jose Tetzlaff says Plier and Leute have set a great example of hard work.

"It's been exciting for sure, but not even because of their differences, but because of who they are."

Showing just what it means to be part of a team.

"But when you see kids that are really having to work harder for those lengths and times, I definitely think they look at that and use that as some motivation for themselves."

Both swimmers say they will be back with the team next season -- working to improve their times and for the friendship.

If you would like to nominate an Everyday Hero send Natalie a message at [email protected]

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