Get Inspired by Swimmers with Disabilities Like Juaisca
After 10 years of waiting, Juaisca finally obtained a good prosthetic to replace the legs she lost from meningitis. Formerly a water-polo rockstar, she was eager to resume her active lifestyle, so she started mountaineering and backpacking South America. In 2013, after a lot of convincing from her coaches, Juaisca returned to swimming. Swimming with disabilities is as hard as it sounds. But then, something amazing started happening—she started winning. Read Juaisca’s full story >>
While studying dentistry in college, Juaisca was on the verge of qualifying for the national water polo team, with her sights set on the Olympics. That dream was cut short when Juaisca was diagnosed with a case of meningitis and ended up having a double amputation at the height of her athletic career. Her body would eventually recover, but she still had mental barriers to overcome.
Could she still compete at the level to which she held herself?
“Even with a disability, you have thousands of possibilities.”
Juaisca worked her way to the Paralympics for paralympic swimming by 2016, where she competed in six different events. Throughout the process of recovery and competition, she remained politically active in Venezuela to try to get more rights for individuals with disabilities. She connected with fellow swimmers with disabilities to become more than her smallest self tells her she can be. She used her platform to speak out against the government and even faced political backlash.
When the political crisis blew up in Venezuela, Juaisca knew it was time to begin the legal process to immigrate to the United States. She is still in that process and currently lives in a women’s shelter in El Paso, Texas.
The rejuvenation of spirit that the No Barriers Summit gave her inspired a new goal: Rather than focusing solely on Paralympic swimming, she would train and compete in the triathlon category for the United States Paralympics. As if swimming with disabilities wasn’t inspiring enough—she’s taking it to the NEXT level!
“I have never seen an event that brings people of all abilities to one place.” She thanks the No Barriers community for their generosity and commitment to one another, including hosting events like the Summit that inspired her deeply.
Her story, her words
“My name is Juaisca Rodriguez, I’m a paratriathlete. Eighteen years later, after a double amputation, I returned back to try adaptive swimming in 2013. Ten months later, I participated in my first international race: First Para South American Games Santiago 2014, in Chile. Next year, in 2015, I participated in ParaPaAmerican Games Toronto 2015, in Canada, where I broke a ParaPanAm record in the 50 butterfly. In 2016, I participated in several international competitions representing Venezuela in: ADEMI Tenerife 2016, winning the trophy as the best swimmer in the category S7; Catalunya Natació Adaptada Open, Barcelona, Spain; Copa Caixa Test Rio 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For the Paralympics Games in Rio, I reached six marks in: 50 butterfly, 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and the 200 IM.
Looking forward to new possibilities and seeking to improve training conditions to achieve my goals, I decided to stay in the USA in 2017. Now I’m training for Triathlon in El Paso, Tx, USA. I have competed in Eagle in the Sun Triathlon, 2017 and Mighty Mujer 2018/2019. Recently I raced in Paratriathlon National Championships 2019, Los Angeles, CA, where I got 2nd place overall in PC Open Category (Paratriathlon Challenged Open).” via MakeaChamp
Give the gift of the No Barriers Summit experience
“I have never seen an event that brings people of all abilities to one place. It is common ground integrating people with disabilities with those that don’t. It blew my mind seeing these people coming together. I am so empowered! Even with a disability, you have thousands of possibilities.”
Whether you’re swimming with disabilities or facing other hardship, there is a world of empowerment out there for you to discover. Every year, we fund dozens of individuals with disabilities that are in need of scholarship to attend our No Barriers Summit. We want to send hundreds of individuals in need, can we count on you?
Juaisca is one of many who have been positively impacted by the community, camaraderie, and connection the No Barriers Summit experience affords them. Scholarships open this opportunity to even more deserving individuals, whether they are swimmers with disabilities or other individuals facing physical challenges.
Together, we can remind even more people that What’s Within Them is Stronger Than What’s in Your Way. We hope you will give your most generous donation today so that together we can provide programs and community for more individuals in the future.May 7, 2020