NEW CASTLE —
THE STATE RACE
Kyler competed in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s state swimming championships two weeks ago at the Skyline High School Aquatic Center in Mesa.
He finished 18th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.49 and 21st in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:01.89. Kyler’s regular-season time of 20.64 in the 50-yard freestyle was the among top times recorded in Arizona prior to the state meet.
He joined forces with senior classmates Jeremy Correa, Matthew Kuebler and Trevor Scott to place 17th in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:52.33 and 23rd in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:41.01.
“Swimming is all about improving your times like in track,” Kyler said. “It’s really not about the place I’m in. I’m out there trying to improve my times. I’m thankful about being in the top 10 in the state, but I just want to improve my times.”
He dedicated his performance over the two-day state swim meet to his grandfather, Wallace Brown, who died in a car accident on Sept. 23.
“I grew up around my grandpa,” Kyler said. “He used to take us out riding dirt bikes as a kids. He was a big part of my life. I stayed in contact with him after we left Pennsylvania. For him to be gone just like that was very difficult. I was supposed to call him about states, but never got to before I got the news (that Brown had died). That’s why I wanted to dedicate the race to him.”
With no known cure or real treatment outside some medication, Kyler has to deal with the hurt he endures every day.
“I try to not think about the pain,” he said. “When I wake up, my joints hurt and they hurt the entire school day, but when I get in the pool after school, I feel relief. When I’m swimming, it’s not as painful as any other sport on dry land.”
Kyler’s refusal to sulk and become enveloped in negativity has impressed his father.
“He’s a very hard-nosed kid,” Paul said. “A lot of kids would probably be like ‘I’m not going to do this or I’m not going to do that,’ but he doesn’t.
“That’s a nice attitude to have. You always want to stay positive and stay focused on the task at hand. You want to strive to do better and deal with the situation the best you can.”
Brown is amazed by her son’s ability to fight through the painful disease without doing much complaining.
“He’s pretty resilient,” she said. “He never complains. It didn’t phase him when he was younger and it still doesn’t. He works through the pain. Plenty of people would give up, but he just battles on and on and on. He’s good about doing what he needs to do to get through it.”