ThumbsUp To Kerry Gruson And Cristina Ramirez

ThumbsUp To Kerry Gruson And Cristina Ramirez

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

61-year-old Kerry Gruson and 41-year-old Cristina Ramirez along with coach Liliana Montes, make up quite a team.

At the Swim Miami event, Ramirez took her traditional position in front as she swam in pulling Gruson who was sitting in a kayak with Montes swim behind, helping as necessary.

The ThumbsUp team with Gruson as the inspiration and Ramirez as the engine present quite a scene at triathlons and open water swims in Florida. Their road to the start line was not an easy one. Ramirez was a heavy smoker and overweight who later sculpted herself as a sleek, powerful, aerobically fit multi-sport athlete. Gruson, a multi-talented, multi-lingual writer, was attacked by a former Green Beret in 1974 in Hawaii that left her without movement of her legs and limited arm movement. As Ramirez reshaped her body, Gruson went on to become a New York Times writer.

Through Shake-A-Leg Miami, a non-profit organization that helps people enjoy water sports, Gruson and Ramirez met and clicked in their desire to achieve different goals.

One of those goals was competing in Swim Miami.

What surprises me is that [Gruson] could be this resentful, angry person because of this injustice that happened to her — but she’s not,” Ramirez said in a Miami Herald interview. “Her spirit is 100% intact. ‘No’ is not in her vocabulary. She’s been a great teacher for me.”

The ThumbsUp team is a great mentor to us all.

Ramirez’s first-person account of their open water swimming adventure is here.

Photo of Kerry Gruson and Cristina Ramirez at the Swim Miami open water swim is courtesy of Jim Winters of Team Nikon Miami.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association