HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Nine-year-old and 12-year-old siblings who just qualified for three swimming events in the AAU Junior Olympics say the sport pushes them to be better people physically and mentally.
Isla Rodriguez, the older sibling, has had to adapt and overcome being completely deaf in one ear which can make the start of meets challenging.
"If I can't hear the buzzer because water is in my ear and my cap is over my good ear, I look at the people next to me to see what time they go off or look at the flash to see when they flash goes off," she said.
So, that hasn't slowed her down.
"Standing on the pool deck, it's just amazing to see the faster swimmers going up before you," Isla said.
The Rodriguez's are two out of 490 swimmers at Cy-Fair ISD Natatorium competing in the AAU Junior Olympics, but for them, it's a tune up for the real Olympic games.
"You get the experience of it, so when you're older you know how it feels when you are doing the actual Olympics," said 9-year-old Gabriel. "It's just a good experience all around."
Gabriel also does his best to remind his sister to keep working hard.
"I always try to be competitive with my sister, like some happy competitiveness in the family," he said.
And, it's safe to say Isla appreciates the friendly competition.
"When I see my little brother beating me, I just think that can't happen," Isla said. "He really makes me work hard to become a better swimmer, so I really thank him for that."
Siblings use AAU Junior Olympics as prep for the real deal