Teen born with no legs, one arm breaking records in the pool - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Teen born with no legs, one arm is breaking records, and barriers


SEATTLE (WKOW) -- A 16-year-old from the Seattle, Washington area is shattering world records and society's idea of what people with disabilities can do.

KCPQ-TV talked with Kayla Wheeler, a Mountlake Terrace High School junior. She hold the Paralympic World Record in the 50 meter butterfly. She's competed in Mexico, Brazil and the Netherlands.

"Just when you think she can`t do any better, she does it again," says her mom Joyce. Kayla started in swim lessons as a baby, after a doctor recommended hydro-therapy for Kayla's disability. The 16-year-old was born with no legs and only one arm.

"It`s kind of indescribable. I mean, when they announce her name representing the United States, I mean I just get goose bumps all over. Even still, you know? I`m just so amazed that that`s my child."

Swimmers like Kayla are broken into different class levels 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 was no female events for my classification as an S1, which is pretty much the most disabled you could possibly be and still swim," Kayla tells KCPQ. 

It was a disappointment, but Kayla keeps herself very busy. "I'm really heavy in extra-curriculars."

Aside from swimming, she bowls, skis and plays baseball. Her mom says, "We always told her there`s nothing you can't do, we just might have to figure out a different way for you to do it. And she has really pushed the envelope."

That's an understatement. Kayla is on the Rocketry and Robotics team and is taking advanced classes at a community college. "I also like being able to represent my country. That`s pretty amazing. Breaking records is always fun too, and getting medals and stuff, but I like really being out there as a role model for other people, I think."

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