Features

Swimming to Paralympic Gold

MADDI ESCHER

STAFF WRITER

   While you might hear on the daily about the successful Silicon Valley businessmen your friends and family are related to, who knew that Pinewood’s own Spanish teacher Jose Luis Orduña is related to a gold-metal-winning Paralympic swimmer?

   When Orduña’s nephew, Luis Armando Andrade, was six years old, he was in a bus accident on his way to watch his older
brother’s soccer match, which resulted in the loss of his left arm. As devastating as this event might have been, Andrade’s
family was there to support him when he went through physical therapy and coped with his loss. As part of his therapy, he learned to swim. Soon, he grew fond of swimming, and at 13 years old, he began competing as a Paralympic athlete.

   Three years ago, Andrade competed in the Guadalajara Parapan American Games, and just this past summer, he competed in the 2015 Parapan American Games in Canada. There, he won three gold medals and two
silvers. According to Orduña, Andrade’s most memorable event was the 100-
meter butterfly, in which he broke the Paralympic record.

   Andrade represents Mexico in international competitions. His gold medals in the 2015 Toronto Parapan American Games were from the 100-meter butterfly, the
100-meter freestyle, and the 200-meter combination swimming. He won his silver
medals in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 50-meter freestyle.

   Though this was a huge commitment and risk, Andrade’s family has been extremely supportive of his career. Everyone in the family including Andrade’s twin brother has shared in encouraging Andrade and are proud of his accomplishments. Since the accident, Andrade’s mom (Orduña’s
cousin), has striven to make sure that her son persevered and did not give in
to depression.

   “His mom has worked hard to emphasize that he is not disabled, he is quite capable as long as he puts his mind to it,” Orduña said.

   Not only as an accomplished swimmer but also as a human who has successfully
overcome great adversity, Andrade is a
great inspiration and encourages people to achieve their goals.

   “This is a result of the family- the unity and the love […] for Luis Armando- so we view it as a success for the whole family,” Orduña said.

Leave a Comment