St. Charles teen representing Team USA at Down Syndrome World Swimming Championship wins gold

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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(KMOV) -A St. Charles teen competing in the Down Syndrome World Swimming Championship in Portugal is bringing home some major hardware.

Jonathan Rawlings, 15, qualified for the team earlier this year and has been training all year for the nine-day international event in Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal. He is participating in six events spread over four days.

On Monday, Rawlings secured a silver medal in the men’s 25-meter butterfly event with a time of 18.11 seconds. On Tuesday, he took home gold in the men’s 25-meter breaststroke with a time of 23.14 seconds. He also took third in the men’s 25-meter freestyle.

“I say it feels awesome,” John told News 4 over FaceTime on Wednesday. “I’m going to keep on doing that, if I keep swimming like that I’ll get more medals.”

Rawlings traveled to Portugal with family and his swimming coach Danielle Ficocelli, his swim coach for the last 10 years.

“Miss Danielle was super happy I got gold, silver and bronze,” Rawlings said. “She’s super proud of me, I did my glide, I did my kick right on the freestyle and breaststroke.”

On Tuesday, Rawlings stood atop the medal podium, holding an American flag as the national anthem played. It’s a scene his mother, Melissa Rawlings, never imagined witnessing.

“It’s an indescribable feeling to see your kid on the medals stand at a world championship, it’s amazing, he’s done so well,” she said.

Athletes from nearly two dozen countries are taking part in the 10th annual international competition.

Rawlings will take part in the 100 IM on Saturday to round out his time at the games. He also took part in the 25-meter backstroke event.

The freshman at Orchard Farm High School in St. Charles is one of 19 swimmers from across the country to qualify for Team USA. Maggie Scherder, of Troy, is also on the team.