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Jonathan Rawlings

Headed to the World Championships

 Jonathan Rawlings is a very impressive young man.

Jon, 14, is an athlete who, as a member of the USA Down Syndrome National Swimming Team, just qualified for the World Championships being held in Portugal in October.

When his older brother, a pre-med student at The University of Alabama, visited Jon’s school (Orchard Farm Middle) to help make the announcement, Jon beamed as the whole school cheered and then lined the school hallways to “high five” him as he ran past. Even “Louie,” the polar bear mascot of the St. Louis Blues, was on hand to participate in the big day!

He starts as a Freshman at Orchard Farm H.S. in the fall. Jon started swimming as a “water baby” when he was six months old. He joined the Blanchette Swim Team about seven years ago and has been competing ever since.

Jon says his favorite stroke is the butterfly. The 25M Fly was his best qualifying event for the World finals (24.79 seconds). He will most likely compete in that event in Portugal, as well as free style and a relay. The coach makes that final determination this summer.

There are only two swimmers from Missouri who will be competing in the World Championships. The other is Maggie Scherder of Troy, MO.

Jon says he works out, lifting weights, every week with his dad at the St. Charles County YMCA. He swims five days/week, including with the Special Olympics Sea Turtles team each winter at the St. Peters Rec Plex. He just joined a higher-level swim team, FAST, in order to swim the longer, 50-meter course.

Believe it or not, Jon also participates in other sports and hobbies. He just earned a Green Belt in Karate with a goal of Black Belt, plays baseball and basketball, and loves to sing and dance. He wants to be involved in choir this upcoming year…he says with a big smile. “I’m not shy and I want to perform. I love music!”

Jon is a great student as well and is planning to attend college. “I would like to build my own gym and be a personal trainer,” he says. 

Jon truly is inspiring. We wish him much luck at the 10th Bi-Annual World Championship in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal, October 15-23, 2022.

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