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Born without hands or feet, Perkins didn’t even learn to swim until he was 12 years old. But once he got in the pool, there was no stopping him. In fact, his second swim meet ever was the 2004 Paralympic Trials – although he didn’t qualify, he broke several American records and was encouraged by his times.
The Stanford student, pursuing a degree in Earth Systems, reflects that he didn’t really ‘love’ swimming until the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, when he began to embrace competing internationally. In Beijing, Perkins won gold in the 50m Butterfly and bronze in the 100m Freestyle. Over the next four years, he continued to compete at the elite level, and again earned a spot on the 2012 Paralympic team. Perkins brought home four medals from London – two silver in 100m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly and two bronze in 50m Freestyle and 200m Freestyle.
2015 was a year of accomplishments for Perkins, earning multiple medals at the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Can-Am Open in December and the IPC Swimming World Championships in July. Now, he’s riding this momentum into 2016 with Dolfin in tow.
In addition to his impressive medal count, Perkins has also been named a three-time USA Swimming Academic All-American, the San Diego Hall of Champions “Disabled Star of the Year,” the 2008 Most Inspirational Athlete by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and he holds American records in all S5 and SM5 events and distances.
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“I believe there is an equality to all humanity..” – Bill Hicks