UNF student competes in the Paralympic Swimming World Championships

Morgan Ray will compete in three events in Manchester, England to try and bring home equipment for Team USA.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. A UNF Health Authority student packs his swim gear as he prepares to travel to England to compete in a world-class competition.

Morgan Ray will compete in the 2023 Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Manchester, England.

One of the most memorable moments in Ray’s life was the last round of last year’s Paralympic Swimming World Championships in Portugal.

“I hit the wall,” Ray said. “I don’t even know where to look for a watch. I look up, down, left and right. I see the number two next to my name.

Ray remembers well coming back at the last minute to take home a silver medal on the world stage.

He wasn’t even sure he could enter the water.

“After three days at training camp, I tested positive for COVID. After that, I was quarantined in my hotel room for five days.”

His positive COVID test kept him out of half of the events.

Ray used the bath in his hotel room to prepare for the competition.

It was worth it to win this medal.

“It really rediscovered my love for the sport, because having it taken away from me at that moment made me realize how much I wanted it,” Ray said.

Ray says swimming has always been a good fit for his diagnosis, the most common form of undersized dwarfism.

“I feel free,” Ray said. “With my diagnosis, achondroplasia, many people experience constant pressure on their joints, which causes pain. When you’re in the water, there’s almost no gravity, so it all goes away and I can just practice.”

He turned it into a passion.

This year, hopefully without COVID, Ray is poised to win some more hardware for Team USA at the World Championships in Manchester, England in two weeks.

And it won’t stop there – Ray plans to compete for a spot on the team heading to Paris for the 2024 Paralympics.

“I will do this as much as I can, I will also compete at this level,” Ray said. “Finally, I got into the golden mean, where I am at the top of my game. I still have a lot to do.”

Ray has three events to attend once he arrives in England.

His first event is 200IM on his birthday, then he has a relay before completing his best chest shot.

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