TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There’s nothing like the feeling when people fill a room and clap for you while you sign on to your next adventure.
“Please welcome the newest member of our swimming and diving team, Colton Hoffman,” University of Arizona swimming and diving coach Augie Busch said at a press conference announcing the latest team addition.
Colton Hoffman is the youngest member of the team, only 12. The happiness was evident as he cheered 'Bear Down' for the first time as a member of the team.
Hoffman is already making waves in the Wildcat world. It was all smiles on Friday for him and his family, including Colton’s dad Greg.
“To see him happy. He doesn’t necessarily have a lot of other friends outside of this, so to see him making friends and connecting with all these college age kids is great,” Greg Hoffman said.
The team made sure Colton was welcome, too. He was given his own locker and plenty of gear to show off his UA spirit.
“It’s really cool ... to be included in something he normally wouldn’t be able to be included in,” Hoffman said.
Colton joined the team through TEAM IMPACT.
He was diagnosed with a genetic disorder more than 10 years ago.
The program gives people with serious or chronic illnesses a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
It’s a team Coach Busch is proud to lead.
“If this just brightens up his day and brightens up his life in a small way - we feel very fulfilled with our involvement." he said.
Greg Hoffman said he is already looking forward to the future as Colton bonds with his teammates.
"He's going to be there to be supportive and fun for them when they have rough times and for them to be there for him, too. To learn that kind of unconditional love to be with these special kids," he said.
Colton’s story is a reminder to all to just keep swimming through life’s challenges.