Paralympic swimmer Jamal Hill, once a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena and member of the 2018 Paralympic Team USA, will be guest speaker at the weekly meeting of the Pasadena Rotary Club on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The meeting at the University Club of Pasadena is open to the public. It is also accessible virtually.
Hill is the founder of the Swim Up Hill Foundation, a movement dedicated to teaching millions of marginalized communities worldwide how to swim. Swim Up Hill focuses on reaching low- and middle-income communities of color that are at the greatest risk of drowning. To date, the organization has established partnerships across the United States, as well as international programs in Colombia, Portugal, and within countries in Northern Africa.
As a Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Swimming Medalist for Team USA, Hill uses this global platform to provide swimming education resources, opportunities, and inspiration to millions around the world, including young people with disabilities.
Hill struggled with some basic movements as a boy. At age 10, Hill was hospitalized after becoming paralyzed when he got the flu. He was later diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, an inherited condition that causes nerve damage.
After the diagnosis, he and his family kept the condition secret, and he did not talk about it openly until after he switched to Paralympic swimming, encouraged by his coach, Wilma Wong.
“My disability isn’t something most people can see,” Hill said in September 2020 when he was already with Team USA. “I don’t fit the stigmatic view of disability, or what people may consider a Para athlete to be. When I joined the Paralympic movement, it allowed me to really own myself and my truth. I had really been hiding in the shadows and had never talked to anybody about my condition for 12 years, through competing at high school and college. I never wanted to be the guy who wanted to make any excuses.”
Now 27, Jamal Hill still trains at the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena for at least five hours a day, five days a week. Out of the pool, he focuses on strength training, using resistance bands to do chest presses, dead lifts, and bent-over rows.
In 2021, Hill received the Cullen Jones Aquatic Athlete of the Year Award, presented by Diversity in Aquatics.
This September, he was named by the United Nations a Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, one of 17 global young leaders selected for the 2022-2024 term.
To RSVP for Wednesday’s Rotary Club meeting at the University Club, call (626) 683-8243 or email [email protected]
To access the meeting via Zoom, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83134340493?pwd=OFlqb25BZ0hhQlJJaEdMQzJLQmJYUT09. The meeting ID is 831 3434 0493 and the pass code is 846541.
For more information, visit www.pasadenarotary.com.
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