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Sports Spotlight: Sioux City Spartans swimmer Jaiden Lovelace making mark in first year with program | SiouxlandProud | Sioux City, IA

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Sioux City East freshman Jaiden Lovelace tried out swimming with the Sioux City Spartans, not quite knowing what to expect.

“When I first joined this, I was like ‘oh, I’ll do this for fun.’ I wasn’t actually serious about it.” Lovelace said.

At first, it wasn’t easy. But with practice and repetition, the East High freshman progressed quickly.

“Jaiden has been a lot of fun to watch. He’s been growing as a swimmer, he’s been watching and learning and picking up his work.” Spartans head coach Eric Hoak added.

After getting to know Jaiden, the Spartans discovered its swimmer would qualify to participate as a para-athlete. When he was younger, Lovelace was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which impacts the nerves which send messages between the brain and spine to the rest of the body.

It’s something that impacts his running and jumping, but not his swimming.

“I still do things the way everyone else does and I try my hardest to just be normal about it.”

From that point, his love for swimming with the Spartans grew and he coninuted to improve. So much so, that he qualified for the IHSAA State Meet, which takes place next month.

“I think his first time was like a minute and a half…somewhere in there. He’s now dropped his time where he’s swimming at about 43 seconds for a 50, which puts him at the top of the state for the para-athletes.” Hoak mentioned.

Lovelace excelled in the Spartans’ final home meet of the season, finishing his event with the third-fastest time out of all para-athletes in the state.

A new experience turned into a new passion, surrounded by those he calls his friends.

“It’s just been so much fun traveling, beating my own times knowing that someday I can compete not for para. If I gain enough muscle, I can actually be varsity,” Lovelace highlighted.

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