DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Monday students at Hope Valley Elementary in Durham, got a special visit from a previous student, Collin Davis, who is now a senior at Durham School of the Arts and a deaf Olympic swimmer.

Monday the athlete spoke to a classroom of students who are a part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. In the program, students have a range of hearing loss or deafness, similar to Davis.

The visit didn’t just end in talking though — he was there to inspire the next generation of students.

“They are not alone. There are others like them out here. There’s others that do the same sport as them. And there’s a community if they get to that level, which I believe they will, they’ll be able to adapt and learn new things and prove as a person and also mature,” Davis said during an interview with CBS17.

During his speech, students’ faces lit up with joy and curiosity as he presented them with medals he won over the years and stories of traveling the world.

He has been swimming since the age of 12. He was born deaf and wears two cochlear implants. And he’s been competing ever since — but it hasn’t always been easy.

“My first meet, I remember it until this day, I didn’t know how to start. And so my parents were like ‘we can give you the hand signal.’ They had to do this for a while until I got used to the lights in a normal swim meet,” Davis explained.

Davis isn’t a stranger to winning — he’s earned nine medals, including two golds, and has earned bronze medals in the 200-meter men’s individual medley, 400-meter men’s freestyle, 4X100 meter men’s freestyle relay, 200-meter men’s backstroke, 4X100 meter men’s medley relay, and 4X200 meter freestyle relay.

He earned a silver in men’s 800-meter freestyle and two gold medals in the 4X100 mixed medley relay and 4X100 meter mixed freestyle relay.

His mission Monday was to inspire the next generation of athletes and reconnect with old friends.

“In kindergarten, he was a very influential student then. I was honored to hear about his swimming and then even seeing him today. And to see that it’s continued and to see how much he has grown melts my heart,” said Davis’ former teacher Shakira Anderson.

The principal of Hope Valley said it’s always good when students come back and speak to the next level of students.

“It was really a nice opportunity for our students to hear and see from someone who has gone on and graduated from Durham Public Schools, having a successful career in the deaf and hard hearing Olympics,” Principal Jed Miller said.

Davis just returned from representing the United States in Brazil at the 2022 Deaf Olympics, an elite international competition that dates to 1900. Deaf Olympics is the international sports competition for deaf athletes sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.

Davis said he wants to keep training and make the USA Olympic Swimming. He also plans to attend the University of Wyoming, where he plans to double major in computer science and computer engineering.

“If they keep working, if they keep growing, they will do something in life,” Davis said.

For more information on Deaflympics or US Deaf Sports click here.