NewsPositively Hampton Roads


14-year-old swimmer born with one arm and no legs inspires coaches, teammates

Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 13, 2018

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. - As far back as Gabe Marsh can remember he's loved the water.  The Alabama teen competes for the Scottsboro swim team, despite being born without legs and just one arm.

“He’s a good kid, he always works hard.  When he’s here he is always smiling and having a good time," Scottsboro swim coach Mark Richard said.  "All of his teammates really like him a lot.  When he started coming his mom was like hey, he has no disabilities.”

Gabe Marsh gets ready to dive in

The 14-year-old doesn't just compete, he's pretty darn good.  In the 50m freestyle, his personal best is 52:64 seconds, a time that has him knocking on the door of qualifying for the USA Emerging Team.  His ultimate goal is to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.  “When I first watched it, I saw the Paralympics, where I saw everybody that looks like me try their best and get medals," Gabe told WHNT.  "That’s one thing I really want, to get a big medal.  When I beat someone, that’s what gets me pumped up.”

Gabe's drive and determination is an inspiration to all of his coaches and teammates.  Even Auburn swim coach Brett Hawke was impressed when he saw Gabe at a recent meet. Hawke gave him a Tigers cap and shirt, something Gabe won't soon forget.  “It was pretty cool.  The first time he came over there I didn’t know who he was until my mom told me he was the Auburn coach.  He said you are very inspirational, and to get faster.”