Ryan Parsons loves swimming … continued

Ryan Parsons loves swimming … continued

December 13, 2022 Off By Hawkeye Johnson

Ryan is eleven years old and has a form of dwarfism but he doesn’t let his size slow him down! In a world full of physical challenges, swimming has given him a chance to excel. He trains with a year round able bodied team in Arizona, the Seville Country Club Sharks. Ryan is from a family of four. GoHawkeye was impressed with his application, his drive and goals. For this reason he was awarded a $1500 experience grant to travel with his family to nation-wide para swimming events in Colorado and California.

Ryan Parsons

Ryan flexing while displaying his medals. Courtesy photo.

“I have had the pleasure of coaching Ryan over the last year and I can truly say that I have not coached an athlete with more love and dedication for his sport. Ryan has the passion and drive to accomplish his swim and life goals.”

-Tamarah Taylor, Former Assistant Coach Seville Sharks

Ryan’s mom, Erin, sent this report and includes a note from him after the para-swim event in Denver, Colorado.

July 23, 2022

Dear GoHawkeye,

Thanks to your support, Ryan had an incredible experience at Jr. Nationals!

Ryan thrived at this event! He swam fast, had some fantastic races and is more driven than ever to swim at the Paralympics!  

Ryan swam 7 events. Three events on the short course yard day and four on long course meter day:

  1. 100 yd  IM – PR (personal record), set Jr. Nationals record – by 16 seconds! – and gold medal
  2. 50 yd Butterfly – PR, Move United Can-Am time standard met, silver medal
  3. 50 yd Breaststroke – gold medal
  1. 50 meter Free – PR, set Jr. Nationals record by 6 seconds!, 0.07 from Can Am time, awesome race and gold medal (won by 4 seconds)
  2. 100 meter Free – PR, set Jr. Nationals record by 5 seconds, super exciting race resulting in gold medal
  3. 100 meter Butterfly – PR, set Jr. Nationals record, gold medal
  4. 200 meter Free – First time swimming this event, set Jr. Nationals record, gold medal

A few moments to share …

Upon arrival, Ryan immediately felt at home. He was in a world of people with physical disabilities.  Being different is the norm here! 

Ryan had an awesome classification appointment. It was his first time – he impressed the classifiers with his muscles and swim skills. Though we did not bring his swim suit – oops! Live and learn!

The day before competition, Ryan practiced in the competition pool and we attended a swim clinic offered by US Para Swimming. He swam a “mini practice” coached by US Para coaches and athletes.  We also got to meet some US Paralympic swimmers and attend a US Para Swimming class. We learned a lot!

Ryan had two amazing days of competition!  

The experience of direct competition was a first for Ryan. At this meet he had the experience of leading a heat and touching the wall first. He could not have been more excited to look up at the scoreboard to see his time and a “1” for first place next to it.  

He made quite the first impression with the Move United & US Para Swimming officials, coaches and event staff. He has achieved a Can-Am time standard and is approaching many more! Ryan is super excited to work towards them.  

Para-Olympian Keith Gabel giving Ryan some insight. Courtesy photo.

Ryan also got to have a special chat with US Paralympic snowboarder Keith Gabel. Keith spent a lot of time chatting with Ryan – he even showed Ryan his olympic medals! Keith gave Ryan advice on how to achieve his paralympic goal and will continue to stay in touch while also connecting Ryan with other US paralympic athletes!  

There aren’t enough words to express how exciting and meaningful this experience has been for Ryan.  He’s already making plans for our next para swim meet – we will be able to manage it thanks to you! I will be in touch!


Erin Parsons