Rancho Vignola is happy to introduce you to our newest and youngest sponsored athlete, Jacob Brayshaw. We got to sit down with Jacob, from Coldstream, BC. He wowed us with his dedication to his sport despite the obstacles he faces.
Jacob is also the son of Michelle McCullough, who some of you may recognize as helping to keep us organized in the office during our busy ordering periods! Jacob is a 16-year-old para swimmer. He suffers from muscular dystrophy and took up swimming as a form of physical therapy, which eventually turned into a competitive pursuit. Over the years, through passion and a commitment to improving his technique, he was able to improve his race times, eventually earning a coveted spot on the Canadian ParaPan-Am Games team and compete this past August in Lima, Peru.
In preparation for the Pan Am Games he was fortunate to be able to attend a May training camp with the other Canadian swimmers and coaches in Spain.
“They were both such an amazing experience, being in Spain and Peru surrounded with other athletes. Training, competing and just being with them kind of helped me get into that extra gear and drive to become even greater.”
He holds seven Canadian records in the S2 category. S2 classification is for swimmers with limited use of their arms and almost no use of their hands, legs and trunk. Jacob is a dedicated swimmer and, due to his progressive disability, knows that this could be his only chance to swim for his country.
“I have dreams of swimming for a university team and even the Paralympics in Tokyo. What I’ve learned with living with this progressive disability is to enjoy the moment because you don’t know if this is your last go at it, and to dream high, but also don’t think too far ahead and just stay in the moment. Right now, this means basking in my experience from Peru, and I am super hyped to see where else my swimming will take me. Up next, US Nationals in Texas this December.”
Besides Jacob’s long hours training in the pool, he just finished Grade 11 in French immersion with an A average and is looking to the future, including researching universities. “I love history, sciences and math. We will see where this takes me.” In any spare time he has, Jacob loves to watch sports and says, “I’m a pretty typical teen.” Jacob also loves shoes: “I love shoes. I’ve kind of started a collection. I didn’t mean to, I just really got into having nice shoes. My newest pair are the Jordan Why Not Zero.2, which are pretty baller.”
When asked about his relationship with Rancho Vignola, Jacob says, “When we moved to BC, in 2010, my mom started bringing Rancho products into the house. I was hooked right away. I have been enjoying the fresh nuts, seeds and dried fruit for years. I am so excited to work with my nutritionist and put together the best options to help fuel my body throughout training and competition.”
Some final words of wisdom from the young athlete:
“With my disability, you can adapt or you can give up; those are your two options.
“If you adapt, there is no telling where life may take you, maybe places like Spain and Peru. It’s still crazy to me when I think about me making the team. I have no idea what other adventures my swimming will take me on but I know I will always put the time in, I will always do my best and I will always savour each and every moment. You got to be able and willing to change, to roll with the punches, which I will always do. I promise to and will remember all the amazing support I’ve received throughout this process and will pay it forward.
“Thank you, Rancho, for your support!”