Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Karina Fassi is a gifted disabled swimmer from Argentina who was invited to compete in this weekend’s 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy.

A remarkable individual, she has had operations on her disabilities. So she began to swim for rehabilitation and soon became passionate about the sport.

She gave a beautiful speech that was touching beyond words in today’s ceremonies in Italy.

She expressed her heartfelt appreciation to race director Luciano Cotena to allow her to swim with the professional marathon swimmers on Sunday.

Her courage and sweetness was recognized by the Pope yesterday when he received her.

She wrote a book about overcoming obstacles entitled the Power to Believe, published in her native Argentina. In order to eliminate her need for crutches and wheelchairs, the 39-year-old accountant started swimming in 2009. ” “In August 2009 after the last operation, I was advised to swim as part ofrehabilitation to straighten out my back. I had serious trouble walking and had trouble with balance that I still have. But swimming helped me. What began as simple rehabilitation, ended up participating in a beautiful, wonderful sport including meeting people with incredible warmth.”

Fassi, who was born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal marrow, will be joining the following professional marathon swimmers in the famed 36 km marathon swim:

1. Damián Blaum, Argentina
2. Evgenji Pop Acev, Macedonia
3. Tomi Stefanovski, Macedonia
4. Joanes Hedel, France
5. Xavier Desharnais, Canada
6. Brian Ryckeman, Belgium
7. Tsvetan Yordanov, Bulgaria
8. Mohammad Saleh, Syria
9. Bertrand Venturi, France
10. Simon Pistor, Germany
11. Samir Barel, Brazil
12. Vitaliy Khudyakov, Kazakistan
13. Matheus Evangelista, Brazil
14. Karel Baloun, Czech Republic
15. Marco Murari, Italy and Mexico
16. Mattia Ferru, Italy
17. Alessandro Rivellini, Italy
18. Gabriele Mento, Italy
19. Edoardo Stochino, Italy
20. Simone Ercoli, Italy
21. Esther Nuñez Morera, Spain
22. Pilar Geijo, Argentina
23. Silvie Rybárová, Czech Republic
24. Lexie Kelly, USA
25. Vanesa Rita Garcia, Argentina
26. Dina Levačić, Croatia
27. Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil
28. Anna Mankevich, Russia
29. Elena Lionello, Italy
30. Fabiana Lamberti, Italy
31. Karina Fassi, Argentina

Atleticom TV will live stream the event this coming Sunday here.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association