by Andrew Garda

Montclair High School freshman swimmer Raphael Allusson may be new to the team, but he’s already made an impression on his coaches.

Swimming is filled with difficulties for any athlete, but for Allusson, there’s one extra, as he must do it with one leg.

He never lets his disability stop him though, something that has moved head coach Ed Koenigsfest.  

“I have never seen any athlete come out for a team and never complain ever about anything when they probably have something to say more than anyone else,” Koenigsfest said after a recent meet against Verona. “Amazing work ethic, amazing attitude, tries everything and just works so hard.”

Allusson has loved his time with the team so far, as well as Montclair High School in general.

“I’m liking it a lot,” he said. “I love the swim team, all the people are really nice, and really welcoming. Getting up at 5 a.m. isn’t the best but I like the swim team, a lot and I like the school too.”

Allusson most enjoys swimming freestyle, and has been working hard to get better each time he gets in the water.

“I think I’ve been doing really good. I’ve definitely improved a lot since the beginning of the season.”

His coaches agree.

“Big improvements in just a few month,” Koenigsfest said. “Couldn’t be any happier with him and just so happy to have him on the team. He’s a great guy. And very inspirational to everyone else on the team. Because they see he has a never give up, never quit attitude and it’s really shown.”

That doesn’t always come easily for Allusson, but he always work at it.

“Not giving up can be hard. Because I’ve gotten last a lot but you just have to keep going, you know?”

Allusson was nice enough to take a few minutes to chat for this week’s Athlete Spotlight:

What made you decide to join the school swim team?

I started swimming with a disabled sports team, and since I was swimming with them, I tried out for the high school team

What attracted you to swimming?

I figured that having one leg would impact me less in the water, and I always liked being in the water too.

Is  there a subject you enjoy the most?

I like Math a lot, but that’s also the subject I am best at. I’m ok at all the others though.

What’s your favorite style of race?

I like freestyle the most and that’s the one I think I do the best at.

Do you feel you inspire people around you?

Definitely. Some people have walked up to me and been like “yeah you really inspire me” and it feels nice.