University of Missouri-St. Louis adds Tokyo 2020 Paralympian Lawrence Sapp

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Tokyo 2020 Paralympian and 2017 Para World Champion Lawrence Sapp, 21, has committed to swim for the Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis and will join the squad in the fall of 2023.

Sapp, a native of Waldorf Maryland, currently trains with Nation’s Capital Swim Club under Jeff King. He previously attended the University of Cincinnati and swam with their club team from 2020-2022.

“I am excited to announce that I will be attending the university of Missouri-st. Louis in the Fall and will be competing on their men’s swim team,” Sapp wrote on Instagram. “Swimming on a Division I or II team has been a dream of mine since I was in high school and now I have the chance to be a part of a great team with great coaches.”

“I was told many times by coaches that I wasn’t eligible to swim in college because of my academic needs and the program that I need to support me. That wasn’t true. The NCAA said I was Eligible years ago. All I needed was a school and a Coach willing to work with me and my academic program. To all my friends, don’t give up on your goals. It’s not always fair or easy, but don’t give up! Go tritons 🔱”

Sapp has been a member of the US National Team since 2017 where at the World Para Swimming Champs in Mexico City, he earned a gold medal in 100m backstroke. Two years later, in London, he earned a silver medal in the 100m butterfly. At the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 he finaled and placed 5th in the 100m butterfly. 

He currently holds eight American records in long course meters and 10 in short course yards across the S14, SB14 and SM14 classifications. His times will come in handy for the USML Tritons as they put him in line to C-final in the 100-yard butterfly and his flat-start 50- and 100 yard free times would put him in contention for spots on the B relays. The UMSL Tritons compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, where this past year they finished 5th out of 10 teams.  

Best times (yards)

  • 50 Free – 21.54
  • 100 Free – 47.64
  • 100 Butterfly – 49.48

This summer, Sapp will be a part of a small, yet strong, men’s team headed to the 2023 World Para Swimming Championship in Manchester, UK for the 2023 World Para Swimming Championship. More information regarding that team can be found here.

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Swammer/Fan of Lawrence
3 months ago

Congratulations to UMSL and Lawrence! I am glad to see that institutions in Missouri are doing the right thing.

3 months ago

A few college swim programs have included para swimmers on their teams. UC totally missed a huge opportunity for the team to train alongside an accomplished, hard-working Paralympian. Was it fear? Ignorance? Discrimination? Who knows? Congrats to UMSL for recognizing this young man’s talent and dedication ro the sport! He will medal in Paris 2024.