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Castle Pines teen earns a spot on the U.S. Paralympics swim team

Castle Pines resident Amanda Palyo will be off to Lima, Peru later this month to compete in the 2019 Paralympic Pan Am Games.

By Kathy Fallert; photos courtesy of John Palyo

Esperanza resident and recent Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) graduate Amanda Palyo has been swimming since she was 6 years old. Starting out with the Castle Crocs Swim Team, Palyo later progressed to club swimming. However, in 2013 at the age of 12, Palyo suffered two strokes which led to paralysis on her right side, and she lost the ability to speak. She was hospitalized for 54 days.

Over the next year, through extensive physical, occupational and speech therapy, Palyo was able to relearn to use her right side and speak. She was cleared to start swimming competitively again the following year in 2014. While she remained competitive, the ataxia from her strokes impacted her performance.

In 2016, Palyo began competing as a Paralympic swimmer. She earned a spot on the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Emerging Paralympic Team. In January of this year, the accomplished Palyo was named to the U.S. Paralympics team and in June was nominated to the team that is traveling to Lima, Peru at the end of August to participate in the Parapan American Games where she will swim the backstroke.

Palyo remarked, “I’m very excited! This will be the largest stage I have ever had the opportunity to compete on. Para swimming has given me the chance to compete on a high level and turn the adversity of 2013 into a positive experience.”

Seventeen-year-old Palyo took a dive off the blocks last year at the U.S. National Paralympic Championship swim meet in December.

Palyo, now 18 years old, still swims for the Castle Crocs where she is also a junior coach. In addition, she swam for four years at RCHS. Palyo will attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins this fall and will train with the Fort Collins Area Swim Team.

Palyo’s dad John concluded, “I am excited that Amanda will get this opportunity to compete on an international stage. Her journey has been long and hard fought. The best part of swimming with the U.S. Paralympics team is that she gets to swim on a team with an amazing group of athletes who have each conquered adversity to compete at the highest levels. I can’t wait to watch her race!”

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