A Mountlake Terrace High School junior in Washington state holds a world record in the 50-meter butterfly sprint. But it’s not her young age of only 16 years that makes this accomplishment so stunning, it’s the fact that she was born with no legs and only one arm.
Kayla Wheeler’s record is for Paralympians, and she was even qualified to attend the 2012 London Paralympic Games but there weren’t enough competitors with the same classification as her own to compete against, KCPQ reported.
“I didn’t get to make the team because there were no female events for my classification, which is an S1. That’s the most disabled you could be and still swim,” Wheeler said.
The Washington teen first began swimming as a child after a doctor recommended it as therapy.
“We always told her there is nothing you can’t do, we just might have to figure out a different way for you to do it and she has pushed the envelope,” her mother, Joyce, told KCPQ.
In addition to defying the odds in swimming given her congenital condition, she bowls, skis and plays baseball. Wheeler excels scholastically taking advanced classes at a local community college and works on her high school’s Rocketry and Robotics Team.
Wheeler is preparing to compete next at the International Paralympic World Championships in August in Montreal.