ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A 16-year-old junior at Western Alamance High School is inspiring others with his swimming.
It’s not just the times that Joe Murray posts or the number of medals he may win, it’s the fact that he’s doing it all while missing part of his right leg.
Joe was born at 35 weeks and doctors noticed a blood flow problem in the right leg. Four weeks later, the leg was amputated.
“I knew regardless, limb or no limb, he would be OK because in this world you can do anything you want to,” his mom Kim Murray said.
Kim and her husband raised Joe with that attitude and encouraged him to lead a normal life. He played baseball and soccer and then, at the age of 9, Joe fell in love with swimming.
He eventually found big-time success in U.S. Paralympics swimming — six wins at the prestigious 2017 Can-Am Open.
He won two golds at this year’s World Para Swimming World Series and then while representing the U.S. at the recent Parapan Games in Peru, Joe even surprised himself by winning the bronze in the 100 breaststroke.
“It was an amazing experience, it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Joe said. “Before the event, my shoulder was bothering me and I just swam my 50 free and I was worn out and not expecting anything from it, just go out and see what happens and when I touched the wall I look over and got third I was in complete disbelief.”
Next thing on the dream list: compete next year at the Paralympics in Tokyo.