CARTHAGE, Mo. – Carthage swimmer, 18-year-old Haven Shepherd is competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this year. Tonight, August 27, a watch party at The Woodshed inside Cherry’s Art Emporium on the Square took place to celebrate the big event.
The watch party was open to the public and featured dozens of community members, all cheering on Carthage’s own superstar athlete.
Just before 9 p.m., Shepherd swam in the preliminaries for the SM8 200 IM and placed third with a time of 3.08. Overall, she placed 8th, putting her in the finals.
Next, Shepherd will swim in the preliminaries for the SB7 100 M breaststroke on August 31. The games will end on September 5.
Shepherd is one of 24 women that qualified for the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team — and it’s well deserved. In 2019, Shepherd took home three medals at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. In the 2018 Para Swimming World Series, she earned two first place finishes.
Her professional career of swimming began eight years ago, but Shepherd’s miraculous story began long before. At 14-months-old in Vietnam, she lost both of her legs in a suicide bomb explosion that killed her parents. At 16-months-old, she was adopted and has lived in the U.S. ever since.
Shepherd has been swimming six to eight times a week to train. Her mother, Shelly Shepherd, says she is the “most self-disciplined girl.”
“I’m really nervous… But I’m also excited… I’ve said ‘If she makes it to the Paralympics’ for so long and now that she’s there, it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, it’s actually happening,'” said Shelly Shepherd.
To learn more about Shepherd’s story, read her interview from earlier this month.