Reitz' Mikaela Jenkins Swims Through Obstacles

The Panthers senior swims at high levels despite having her foot amputated at a young age.

Posted: Jan 12, 2021 6:45 PM
Updated: Jan 13, 2021 8:46 AM

Mikaela Jenkins has been swimming for most of her life, and her coaches have plenty to say about her work ethic.

"It takes a unique skill set to and more so a very unique mentality to be elite at what you do and I think that she certainly possesses that in the sense that, she's always looking to improve," said Newburgh Sea Creatures Head Coach Aaron Opell.

Jenkins has been swimming competitively despite having her foot amputated when she was 8 months old.

"I have a condition called PFFD which stands for Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency and that means that my left femur is shorter than my right femur and so, in order to avoid like limb lengthening or being in a wheel chair the rest of my life, they decided to amputate my foot. It was definitely a learning curve but, the only real things that I have to work on are, I do my dives differently than other swimmers and, kicking I've just had to really work on strengthening my right leg and making sure both legs work together," said Reitz Senior Mikaela Jenkins.

The Reitz senior did not swim for the Panthers last season, instead she was training to compete in the Paralympic games, which were unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic.

"It definitely was disappointing, but it gave me some relief because I was not mentally prepared to take on that meet this year and I think it's given me a lot more time to think through how I want to approach my swims and I want to approach that whole meet," said Jenkins.

Jenkins still plans on competing at next year's rescheduled Paralympics and hopes to have success in the pool similar to another famous Panther.

"I think it is really special that the same school, the same club team has had an Olympian and hopefully will also have a Paralympian next year. I just think that it's really cool that both sides of the spectrum are being represented especially in the same town and same high school," said Jenkins

And though swimming did come with its challenges at first, Jenkins' experience is something from which we can all learn.

"Regret lasts longer than pain does. So, I feel like that's always important to remember when you're going through something hard to not give up because you may end up regretting it," said Jenkins.

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Our Tuesday was nothing short of chilly, gloomy, gray and wintry throughout the Tri-State; afternoon high temperatures only reached as high as the middle to low 30s throughout the region. Our peak temperature of 32° in Evansville was 16° below the norm for this time of the year. As for the evening ahead, cloud cover and cool air will linger - additionally, there have been reports of sporadic flurries on and off throughout the day and some portions in the Lower Ohio Valley may continue to see brief snow showers through 10 o’clock this evening. Our winds will shift southward overnight tonight into early Wednesday morning and while it won’t necessarily drive temperatures higher for the predawn hours, It will help keep temperatures from falling much further than where they currently stand. Extract the morning low temperature near 29° in Evansville as we kick off our midweek.
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