WILTON - A swimmer from Wilton is about to participate in an important competition in North Dakota, and some say he's defied the odds by getting there.

The Wilton Wahoos are the No. 1 swim team in the state and they rank among the top 25 clubs in the country. Coach Todd Stevens says it's only natural that some members have gone on to do great things, but one stands out as truly remarkable.

David Gelfand, 17, was born with proximal focal femoral deficiency and has a partial left leg. He didn't let it stop him from becoming a nationally ranked swimmer, and he was invited to compete in the Canadian-American games. It's a chance to qualify for the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team.

"It's a big meet with a lot of different countries in attendance," he told News 12. "I'm just going to go out and do my best."

Gelfand's coach says he displays a determination that helps others rise to the top.

"He's kind of like a hero to me in the sense that I don't know how I would fair given the same circumstances," says Stevens. "He's really a motivation for all of us here at the Wilton Y."

Gelfand swims the 400 freestyle and also competes in triathlons, wearing a prosthetic out of the water. The Canadian-American Open starts on Thursday.