All athletes need motivation. It can stem from the thought of championships or records, but as the University of Arizona swim team has shown, sometimes others are all the motivation we need.
Saturday was rivalry day at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. It was Arizona versus Arizona State like so many times before. Only this time was different. You see, Saturday was Team Josie.
"Their hearts melted and I think it was love at first sight to be honest with you," said University of Arizona assistant coach Brandy Maben.
Jocelyn "Josie" Coronado signed a national letter of intent with the University of Arizona swim team. She's 6-years-old.
"Josie's energy and her smile light up a room already," Maben said, "to add that kind of energy and personality on to the team is a blessing for us."
Josie isn't a swim prodigy, in fact, she hardly knows how. The bubbly 6-year-old focuses her time and energy on her battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the Wildcats took notice.
"A friend of mine, when I was 13, was diagnosed with cancer and we did a Team Megan kind of thing," explained junior swimmer Bonnie Brandon. "I brought that idea to the team and thought it would be a good way to get everyone united and into this cause."
"The doctors have to tell her, 'Josie you have to tell us if something hurts' because she's always positive about everything and never complains," said Josie's mother Joanna. "I think that's why she was nominated to represent the swimming and diving team here at the UofA."
Saturday was Josie's day. While she will certainly will never forget the joy it brought her, she likely doesn't realize the impact she had on her new teammates.
"They're inspired by everything she's going through and everyone knows she's never sad or never complains," said Joanna. "She's always been a fighter and that's what amazes us. She's always so positive."
"The energy in the locker room was so high because we have somebody that we're swimming for now," added Brandon. "Somebody who looks up to us and needs us more than ever right now."
What was Josie's favorite part?
"Splashing in the water? Yeah."
She may be shy around the camera, but Josie Coronado is already bringing positive energy to the Wildcat team.
"She already has some ideas for some cheers," said Maben. "She thinks pink should be involved in our team more than it is, so that might come about.
"On deck she has some skills to be a good coach, so we'll use her on deck too."