Para Swim Meet

Jared Abramovitch and S14 classified athletes take their mark before starting the race. 

The 2022 California Classic Para Swim Meet, hosted by Yucaipa Swim Team at Crafton Hills College last weekend, was full of excitement and inspiration.

This year’s Para Swim Meet entries included athletes that competed in the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. Athletes Jamal Hill, Matthew Torres, and Han-nah Nelson were in attendance and performed some of their best times.

Local athletes Jared Abra-movitch, who trains with Yucaipa Swim Team, and Kayla Aulis, who trains with Inland Empire Aquatics, also competed and put together some great races.

Torres, 21, was born with amniotic band syndrome which is a congenital birth defect. Torres was born missing his right leg, missing one finger on each hand, and moderate hearing loss. In 2018, he watched Micheal Phelps swim in the Olympics and made the decision that he wanted to be just like him. Torres started training and his dream was realized in 2021 when he made the U.S.A. Paralympic National team and was going to Tokyo. Torres came home from Tokyo with a bronze medal in the 400- meter freestyle for his S8 classification. He said, “Something just clicks in my brain when someone tells me I can’t do something and I just want to prove them wrong. There is no limit to what I can do as long as I put my mind to it and I believe that everyone should think that way in all aspects of life not just sports.”

Torres’ teammate on the U.S. National team, Hill of Inglewood takes a similar mindset when training. Hill was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder at the age of 10 and had to stop all physical activity. Hill had to relearn all motor skills and got into swimming his sophomore year of high school.

“I had a lot of shame about it, nobody wants to feel like there is something wrong with them you know, disability isn’t exactly something that is celebrated in our culture,” Hill said.

Hill says it was during college that he met his current coach, Wilma, and she was the first person he told about his disability in 12 years and they started their paralympic journey. Hill’s first ever para swim meet was the 2018 California Classic in Yucaipa and he attends every year. Hill came home from Tokyo with a Bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle and set a new American record this weekend at the 2022 California Classic in the 50-meter breaststroke for the S9 classification.

Yucaipa Swim Team athlete Abramovitch swam six events in the S14 classification and went best times in two of the events.

Yucaipa Swim Team and Crafton Hills College look forward to making it an annual event to continue supporting para athletes and bring more awareness to their competitions.

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