This past weekend at the 2017 Great Lakes Tropical Challenge in Zeeland, Michigan, the American Paralympic Resident Team took part in the age group meet, putting on a spectacle with 12 new American records.
The team featured 12 swimmers, seven of which were already on the record books as national record holders.
Tye Dutcher, who swam at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, broke his first national record at the meet, taking down the S10 mark in the 50 yard butterfly. His time of 27.44 gave him second overall in the open category.
Dutcher told the Holland Sentinel after the meet, “It was my first record. It is pretty cool. I’ve been through a lot in my life, losing my foot when I was 11-years-old. I never gave up. It is the same thing with the rest of these athletes. We have a constantly positive attitude. We don’t give up.” Duthcher continued to say, “Everyone says we are inspirations, but meets like this show what the Paralympics are all about.
Tharon Drake, who competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games where he picked up two silver medals, also broke a national record at the Great Lakes Tropical Challenge. Drake bettered the 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, and 200 freestyle records in the SB11 and S11 categories.
Tyler Austin broke the 100 breaststroke record in his respective category as well.
According to some athletes there it was a true inspiration to watch them swim. Alyssia Crook, a swimmer from Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics with aspirations of making the 2020 U.S Paralympic team, and then being a member of the U.S Paralympic Resident Team said she enjoyed the experience, “It was awesome. I only see my Paralympic team like four times a year. It means so much to be here and hang out and swim with them.”
Crook swam all best times this past weekend.
“It means so much for me because my team needs to see what we do,” said Crook. “It it awesome that we can make people realize that anything is possible – no matter if yo lose an arm or a leg. We are swimmers just like them. I wish we could have more meets like this because I think we can inspire a lot of people. That is who we are.”