Mountain View High School swimmer Griffin Barlow finds community, confidence and competition

Modifications to the house for her children include step stools, lower showerheads, light switches, closet rods, shelves and pantry items for easy access. Driving extension pedals are also waiting for you; her son is studying for his learner’s permit exam.

No modifications exist in his high school swim team, that’s how the teenager likes it.


Barlow’s swimming workouts are no different than those of his high school teammates on the co-op team made up of swimmers from Evergreen, Heritage, Mountain View and Union, and hard work comes with extra effort. For every stroke made by an average-sized swimmer, Barlow doubles the amount to keep pace. He is a college swimmer who primarily competes in freestyle and butterfly races.

Swimming provides a relaxing atmosphere, Barlow said. He learned to swim as a life skill shortly after arriving in the United States and has now been swimming competitively for three years. He had difficulty adapting to other sports, such as football or basketball, with average height peers.

This is not the case in swimming.

“We have our own path,” he said, “and our own space.”

Longtime swim coach Doug Lumbard has coached swimming for over four decades. Coaching an athlete with dwarfism motivated Lumbard to become involved in coaching Paralympic swimming and the Portland Piranhas of Adaptive Sports Northwest, a swim club for young people with physical disabilities of which Barlow is also a member. Lumbard said he plans to make Barlow a team captain for Mountain View next season because of his vocal leadership and exemplary manners around the pool.

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