Deaf swimmer from Michigan raises money for international swimming competition

A Detroit teen overcomes a disability and has hopes of becoming a world-class swimmer. 

Anquniece Wheeler started swimming when she was nine years old, and now, ten years later, she has earned a spot to represent the United States in an international competition. 

"I think someone here has a proclamation," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. "Congratulations on all you're doing."

The 19-year-old hasn't had it easy. She is deaf and has decided not to let her disability get in her way.

"Sometimes I have to go off of other people," Wheeler said." I watch. Look down and go."

Wheeler started out swimming casually at the Detroit Recreation Center. 

"I guess I did my thing, because at the end, they were like, 'you're a beast. You need to join. Where's your mom?,'" Wheeler said. 

Wheeler then started competing with Martin Luther King High School's swim team. That led to a full college scholarship in North Carolina. 

Wheeler says she learned about the World Deaf Swim Championship back in 2014 from one of her coaches.

"I was like, 'oh my God, I don't have the money. I'm alone and who is going to support me,'" she said. 

At one point, after being hit by a car, Wheeler's determination shined. She decided to keep swimming with a broken leg, and, with the help of her mother and coaches, she was even able to win a city championship. 

"After all the times I'd been sick, in the hospital and broken up, [they] still had faith in me," Wheeler said. 

This year, Wheeler is more determined than ever to represent Team USA at the world championship in Brazil this August. 

"Now it's like I have a purpose, because it's here," she said. "It's sitting right in front of me and I have to move and make it happen."

Wheeler says she is incredibly nervous to go, but knows she has to.

"I am going to be the first black female to swim on a deaf national swim team. I just really have to show out and make a change," she said. 

The trip is expected to cost around $5,500, and Wheeler said she is collecting the donations to hopefully make her dream come true. 

"Don't let anyone stop you from following your dreams." 

Click here to donate and support Wheeler.