SILVER LINING: Swimmer from Darien recalls tragic shark attack in Turks and Caicos

Ali Truwit is gearing up for the Paralympic Team Trials set to take place just a little more than a year after her life-altering event.

Angelica Toruno and Nicole Alarcon Soares

Jun 14, 2024, 9:07 PM

Updated 29 days ago

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It was this time one year ago that a Yale University student from Darien was recovering from a tragic shark attack.
Ali Truwit had just graduated from Yale University and decided to celebrate her milestone achievement with a vacation in Turks and Caicos. But what she didn’t know was that this trip would alter her life forever.
"The shark came up and started attacking us, and ramming us, and bumping us from underneath really hard and aggressively,” Truwit said. “The next thing I knew, it had my leg in its mouth and quickly after that, it had bitten my foot off and part of my leg."
Truwit swam over 70 yards back to the boat in the open ocean water, without her foot and profusely bleeding.
"The call was the worst call. A call no mother ever wants," said mother Jody Truwit.
Truwit was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Miami.
"There I underwent two lifesaving surgeries and blood transfusions," said Truwit.
From Miami, she was airlifted to HSS in New York City to undergo her third surgery of the week.
"Transtibial amputation on my 23rd birthday," she said.
Truwit has swum competitively since the age of 12 and went on to swim D1 for Yale University.
"I was sitting there thinking, ‘Am I ever going to run again, walk again, short skirts?" she recalls.
It was a long road to recovery, but for Truwit, giving up was never an option.
"I had lost a lot in all of this, and I didn't want to lose my love of the water too,” she says.
With her newfound strength and determination, Truwit began easing it back to swimming in her backyard pool. Ultimately, leading her to the path of para-swimming.
“I ended up at my first mandatory para-swimming meet, three months out from my amputation," said Truwit.
An achievement her friends and family believed in.
"We kind of stand in awe, truthfully, we're like, ‘You're really intimidating!’" Truwit’s mom said.
"At its purest form, this is what it's about. She took a really, really awful situation and has made the best out of it," said Truwit's swim coach Jamie Barone.
She's gearing up for the Paralympic Team Trials set to take place just a little more than a year after her life-altering event.
"I'm grateful, I'm alive and here,” Truwit said. “I’m really excited by the opportunity to potentially represent my country and be a part of Team USA."


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