Paralympian to Speak on 'The Olympian in All of Us' in Issues & Artists Series Finale

WC Swimming Coach Trip Breen Helped Train Kerley for 2008 Beijing Summer Games

March 6, 2012

April Kerley

April Kerley

World-class Paralympian swimmer April Kerley will share her inspiring story of not accepting limitations in achieving one’s goals Wednesday (March 14) as the final program in Wilmington College 2011-12 Issues & Artists Series.

Kerley will speak on “No Limits: The Olympian in All of Us” at 7:30 p.m., in Heiland Theatre.

Kerley, who was born without part of her right arm, competed in the Beijing Paralympic Games four years ago and is training as a sprinter for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

She placed fifth in the 50-meter freestyle at the Beijing Games. Kerley has nine American swimming records, two Pan-American and a world record. No sprinter in the Western Hemisphere has beaten her record in the 50-meter freestyle since she set it in 2006.

Kerley, who works full-time as a marketing director of The Financial Network Group in Cincinnati, trains before and after work each day. Indeed, each year, since she began training for the Paralympic Games, she has swum more than a million yards — the equivalent of nearly 650 miles —the distance between Cincinnati and New York City!

Kerley began swimming at age six and excelled throughout her youth in Ohio’s competitive school and summer league environment as a swimmer and, later, a coach. She was a walk-on to Xavier University’s swim team as a college freshman and was a solid competitor for the Musketeers.

Through swimming connections, she met James “Trip” Breen, WC’s swimming coach and aquatics director, as she was preparing for the 2008 Summer Games. Breen, who agreed to help her train for Beijing, was impressed with Kerley’s hard work ethic and ability to balance working full time with the intensive training and dedication it takes to become a champion.

“April’s the most motivated athlete I’ve ever worked with — she has a real will to compete,” Breen said in 2008. “April gets up at 4:45 a.m. to lift weights. She works all day at her job, drives an hour to Wilmington to swim for two hours, goes home and does it all again the next day.”

The U.S. Paralympics is a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The Paralympic Movement encompasses athletes with a range of physical and visual impairments that compete in designated classifications based upon such factors as muscle strength, movement coordination, and joint range of motion and/or limb length.