A 19-year-old from Jacksonville just achieved what most of us would think is unthinkable.
Morgan Ray won a silver medal at the Para Swimming World Championships over the weekend.
It’s for swimmers with physical limitations. We were able to catch up with Ray on Monday. He’s staying humble about his achievements.
“It was more of a shock to be able to compete and I was able to put together a great swim,” Ray said. “Just going to the World Championships was the biggest ... and winning was even bigger than that.”
Ray is back in Jacksonville after competing in Portugal over the weekend.
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“I won a silver medal at the Para Swimming World Championships in the 100-meter breaststroke,” Ray said.
But it almost didn’t happen.
“I had actually tested positive for COVID when I got there, so I was actually out of competition for about four or five days, so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to compete,” Ray said. “I didn’t get to compete in most of my events -- that was my last event. I was just fortunate enough to be able to compete in that event.”
Ray recovered quickly. The Bartram Trail High School graduate and current University of North Florida student finished among the best in Madeira, just short of gold.
Ray was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of short-stature or dwarfism. But it’s never stopped him from achieving big dreams.
“My message for others is to not be afraid to work in silence because I swim with able-bodied swimmers for most of the time, I’m constantly having to catch up,” Ray said. “When I was younger, I used to have to do practices for two hours straight because I couldn’t do the intervals that they had, but I found a way to get the work done.”
“Not being afraid to work in silence is a big thing that I want to tell people about me just because I had to do it for so long. Eventually, the work shows up even if it doesn’t feel like it is.”