Grove City College Freshman Heads to Paralympics for Team USA

GROVE CITY, Pa. – Grove City College freshman Mikaela Jenkins is one of 34 swimmers selected to represent Team USA at the Paralympic Games.

The Evansville, Ind., native will miss the first days of her collegiate courses as the world champion swimmer competes in the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and individual medley events. The Paralympic Games will be held Aug. 24 through Sept. 5 in Tokyo.

She took gold in 2019 in the 100-meter butterfly and silver in the 4×100 free relay and medley at the November 2019 World Para Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Jenkins was born with left proximal femoral focal deficiency, which impaired her limb growth and led to the amputation of her left foot when she was 8 months old. She was walking independently with a prosthesis at 17 months and learned to swim when she was 4. She started competing at 8.

“I am really excited to swim and most of all I want to have fun and enjoy the experience,” Jenkins said in a statement. “My goals for games include defending my 2019 World Champion medal in the 100-meter fly, being selected for one Team USA relay – athletes for the relay are decided closer to time in order for the coaches to see how everyone is swimming – and to medal in at least one other event individually.”

The biology and health major, who is on a pre-medical track, says she’s excited to start school and meet her teammates after returning from the Paralympics. 

Grove City College’s head swimming and diving coach Dave Fritz said he’s happy Jenkins has this opportunity, adding that she will be an asset to the Wolverines program with her athletic ability and diligent work ethic.

“Mikaela has a great shot at earning All-American during her collegiate career,” Fritz said. “But the bottom line is that she is competing at the Paralympic Games, the equivalent of the Olympic Games. Regardless of how her career unfolds, she is a unique and special person.”  

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.