Adyn Cobb, a swimmer on the East Carolina Aquatics: Camp Lejeune (ECA) team, received the Andy Craver Determination Award at the North Carolina Swimming Awards banquet in Greensboro on Sept. 21.

There is an adage that life’s hardest times only make us stronger. A prime example of this is Southwest Onslow High School freshman Adyn Cobb, a swimmer on the East Carolina Aquatics: Camp Lejeune (ECA) team who has had been living with two blood disorders, hemophilia and Von Willebrands, nearly his entire life. The two disorders reduce Cobb’s blood’s ability to clot.

Cobb’s perseverance has earned him the Andy Craver Determination Award, which he received at the North Carolina Swimming Awards banquet at the Greensboro Coliseum, Sept. 21.

Swimming became a refuge for Cobb, who played baseball and soccer in the past, but switched to a sport with less risks of suffering a cut or enduring a collision that could cause severe bleeding due to his blood conditions.

“[Swimming] has changed (my life) a lot, because when I first started I thought I would hate it, to be honest,” said Cobb, whose father is a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps. “It looked like a sport that was just so boring and dull, but when I started to get into it I was like ‘this is amazing’.”

Cobb said he loves “everything” about swimming – the coaches, the teamwork, the friendly people, the competitiveness and the adrenaline.

“Having this, being a part of this team, makes me feel like I can be who I want to be,” Cobb said. “It makes me forget sometimes that I even have what I have.”

Despite his blood disorders, Cobb’s positive attitude and his drive are both admirable and contagious.

“It’s very hard (living with the disorders),” Cobb said. “It puts a boundary on just about anything I can do.”

But they aren’t going to stop him.

“I find a way around those boundaries,” Cobb said, who began swimming with the Camp Lejeune team last year. “It’s not like I cheat, but I kind of go through the fence and still push for that dream.”

“That dream” for Cobb means continuing to swim competitively in college while getting a degree in architecture from East Carolina University on his way to becoming a professional swimmer and an Olympian.

The pool is a haven for Cobb, who credits many people for helping him get to where he is today. Jodie Jordan Scott, ECA team coach, and her husband John are two people who have had a major impact on Cobb.

“Coach Jodie and her husband John have been such an asset to me,” Cobb said. “John has been like a mentor for me. He has helped me forget that I have my diseases, and it has been really helpful. It’s been amazing, because I have never met anybody like [them] besides my parents [who] push for my dreams to come true.”

Cobb’s growth both in and out of the pool prompted Scott to nominate him for the Andy Craver Determination Award. Scott said Cobb caught her attention when he would come to practice early and stay late to work on his strokes. Now, he volunteers to help with the team’s younger swimmers and is becoming more of a leader.

“I had the honor of watching him fall in love with the sport,” Scott wrote to the award’s selection committee in her letter of recommendation for Cobb. “His determination, persistence and hard work are evident to all around him.”

Cobb’s message for people who are battling a similar challenge daily is simple: “Don’t let it stop you.”

“I used to just let it stop me all the time,” Cobb said. “I’d say ‘Oh, I can’t do this, I got this,’ but I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more aware of what I have and I’m like, ‘Oh, well I can do this because I set my goal’, not because someone told me I can, not because someone told me I can’t, because I want to.”

Cobb also credits his parents, his youth pastor, his youth leaders and “the man upstairs” as all being key influences in his life