The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil may be more than two years away, but for Kyle McMahon, a para-swimmer, originally from Burns Lake, his preparation for the games are already underway.
McMahon, who attended Decker Lake Elementary School, suffered severe brain injuries in a car crash when he was only four-years-old.
The injuries left him in a coma for two weeks and he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, an umbrella term that refers to a number of disorders affecting someone’s ability to move, as well as their posture, and is caused by damage to the developing brain during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
McMahon was forced to learn to walk, talk, eat and dress himself all over again.
Despite setting a Canadian record at the 2012 Paralympic Trials, McMahon missed his opportunity at representing Canada at the London Paralympic Games.
Coming that close to realizing his dreams didn’t affect McMahon’s drive at all.
He continued to push himself after the trials both in and out of the pool, trying to improve his stroke rate, which will raise the number of strokes he takes per minute, and his stroke length, which will make him give him more power behind each stroke, both of which will allow him to go faster
Now, two years out from the games in Rio, he has his sites set on doing everything possible to make the cut.
Currently, he’s attending Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, working his way towards a bachelors degree in information technology, but will set his studies aside shorty to focus full-time on training.
“My long term game plan is to take a two year break from school starting this fall and just train like it’s my full time job leading into the Paralympics in Rio,” McMahon said.
Over the next two years, he will compete, as a member of the Surrey Knights Swim Club, in a number of events to get himself prepared, including, the Para Pan-American trials in March 2015 and the Para Pan-American Games in August 2015, both in Toronto, and in the Paralympic Trials in April 2016, where he hopes he can earn his shot to represent Canada at the Paralympics in Rio in September.
The two events he hopes to compete in are the 50 m butterfly, which has an Paralympic qualifying time of 0:33:00 and the 100 m breaststroke, which has a qualifying time of 1:25:00.
In order to reach those goals, McMahon needs to train like the high calibre athlete that he is.
He has started a fundraising campaign to help him with his training.
The campaign is through a website called Pursuit, a fundraising platform for amateur athletes, and McMahon started his campaign on May 15, looking to raise $10,000.
As of Friday, June 13, there were 23 days left in his fundraising campaign, and he had raised over $2000, from 31 backers.
The money that he raises will go towards funding his travel, pool time and accommodations.
“If do get the money it would be easier. I would have more options to my disposal and if I didn’t fundraise I would have the bare minimum resources in my repertoire,” McMahon said.
“The money would allow me to train like a professional athlete.”
In the lead up to the London trials, McMahon was training a minimum of two hours per day in the pool, five days a week, as well as doing an hour of yoga and an hour of weight training per week.
He was swimming over 30 km a week.
It is a training schedule that he will look to replicate in order to qualify for the games in Rio.
In the end, the fundraising campaign will only help him on his way to achieving his goal of representing Canada with the world watching.
“I’m very proud to represent Canada on the international stage,” McMahon said.
His campaign can be found at https://www.pursu.it/pursuit/campaign/56.