USA Paralympic swim team heads to Tokyo from Chicago's O'Hare airport

ByMaher Kawash via WLS logo
Sunday, August 15, 2021
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The USA Paralympic swim team is ready for their moment after a year off during the pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's the calm before the adventure for Team USA as the Paralympic swim team gets ready to take off for Tokyo from Chicago's O'Hare airport.

"It's gonna go by so fast. We've been training for this for five years," said Jessica Long with Team USA.

Long and the USA Paralympic swim team are ready for their moment after a year off during the pandemic.

This will be Long's fifth time competing in the Paralympics and she's been quite dominant, too, as she heads into these games with 23 medals already under her belt.

"It's just one of the most freeing experiences," Long said. "I think that's why I love swimming so much."

The success is great, but the Paralympics, and the sport of swimming in general, serves as an escape for Long and her teammates.

"Honestly, when I swim, it's just a place where I can take off my two prosthetic legs, and I feel so strong and capable," she said.

The team will officially start competing in the Paralympics on August 24 and go until September 5.

They'll have to quarantine when they arrive and the same COVID protocols are in place as the Tokyo Olympics, which just wrapped up.