Despite having no legs and only one arm, Kayla Wheeler is a 16-year-old swimming phenomenon who continues to shatter world records.
Kayla was born with three congenital amputations. And as a form of therapy, a doctor recommended swim lessons.
Now the high school junior holds the Paralympic world record in the 50-meter butterfly. She’s competed in Mexico, Brazil and the Netherlands.
“It’s kind of indescribable. When they announce her name and she’s representing the United States I get goose bumps all over. I’m so amazed that’s my child,” Joyce said.
Swimmers like Kayla are broken into different class levels based on how disabled they are. She qualified for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, but couldn’t go because there weren’t enough people to compete against.
“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,” Kayla said.
It was a disappointment, but Kayla keeps herself busy. Aside from swimming, she bowls, skis and plays baseball.
“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,” Joyce said.