New York teen eyes Jamaican colours
Fifteen-year-old Kayla Thorpe is chalking up one award after another as a junior swimmer with the Freedom Aquatic Swim Club in the New York City Metro Area. Touted by her coach as being one to watch for the future, she is living up to his...
Fifteen-year-old Kayla Thorpe is chalking up one award after another as a junior swimmer with the Freedom Aquatic Swim Club in the New York City Metro Area. Touted by her coach as being one to watch for the future, she is living up to his predictions as, already, she has swum her way to five gold medals, a silver and a bronze in competitions.
Kayla, sharing her passion with The Gleaner, said she “accidentally fell in love with it” as she first started out in track and field only to discover she had Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition that causes pain and swelling below the knee joint.
“The doctor said I would have to stop running as my knees weren’t fully developed, and the doctor recommended I start swimming to strengthen my knee joint. I started swimming and fell in love with it. Now that’s all I want to do,” she shared.
Kayla, who practises for two hours, four days of the week after school, plus part of her weekend with a private coach, said it takes a lot of discipline to balance her schoolwork and keeping up with the many weekend meets. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Someday the talented teen said her dream is to wear the black green and gold on the world stage, representing the country her parents Patrick and Andrea Thorpe hail from.
“I don’t see Jamaica represented that much in swimming. Alia Atkinson is the only recognised female I can think of and my goal is to change that in a few years,” she said.
HOPING TO MEET SYNCHRONIZE TEAM
Kayla said her mother promised to take her to see the Jamaican synchronized team as she would love to meet them on her next visit to Jamaica, something she does once per year. Kayla is hoping her parents can make it happen.
Patrick, who was raised in Trelawny, migrated to the United States in the early 1980s, played American football in high school and went on to the college level, said he stands in support of his daughter.
Her mother, Andrea, who was born and raised in Bull Savannah, St Elizabeth, ran track for St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) before migrating.
Commenting on her desire to represent the land of their birth, Patrick said his daughter is very headstrong and usually achieves whatever she sets her mind to.
“This is something she says she wants to do and do it at the highest level. So her mother and I are here to give her the support all the way…and to be honest it would be a thrill to see her in the Jamaican colours.”