Have what it takes to conquer the IRONMAN World Championship?

Spotlight: Roderick Sewell

Para Swimming Champion, motivational speaker and double amputee Roderick Sewell will be competing in his first IRONMAN.

Since his swimming debut at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-swimming Championships, where he won both a gold and bronze, Roderick Sewell has been racking up medals just about every time he jumps in the pool. Roderick was born with a birth defect that resulted in the amputation of both of his legs before he was two years old, but never let that slow him down.

There were years during his childhood in San Diego that Sewell didn’t have a place to call home. He spent time living in shelters as his mom sacrificed steady income for the opportunity to provide her son with prosthetics. At the age of ten, Roderick was regularly swimming at the Mission Valley YMCA and it was during this time that he became involved with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). Through CAF Roderick had access to adaptive equipment that allowed him to harness his natural athletic ability to accel outside of the pool. Sewell quickly picked up running with blades when he was ten years old, and added a handcycle to routine and complete the triathlon trifecta. We were fortunate to have a chance to sit down with Roderick as he heads to Kona for the IRONMAN World Championships this weekend in Hawaii.

Thanks so much for joining us this week Roderick, we know you’ve been busy. As swimming has been your main sport, what sparked the interest in triathlons?

I used to be terrified of the water until I got started with CAF. From there I became involved in many sports. Triathlon is a big part of CAF so through them is how I got involved.

And competitions don’t get much bigger than Kona. You’re diving right into the deep end at the IRONMAN World Championships, have you been before?

This will be my full IRONMAN and I didn’t start training until March of this year.

From what we understand you push your body to the limit. How have you been training since we last caught up with you at the NYC Triathlon and what’s after Kona?

Tokyo 2020 is the goal! Triathlon training is more cross training. I have been a competitive swimmer for almost twelve years now. A typical routine consists of 7 swim sessions per week with a focus on sprints and technique.

It doesn’t get much bigger than the Olympics! We understand you’re also a motivational speaker. Who motivates you?

I try to surround myself with people who are motivational in their own way. Whether it’s people who love to work hard and grind it out for what they want, or people who work hard just to give back to others in need.

And we hear you give back as well, you’ve spent quite a bit of time volunteering at your local YMCA and getting more kids into athletics. Tell us, what’s the biggest challenge as an adaptive athlete?

The hardest part is changing people’s mindsets. I still find it funny that people always want to help and ask if I need assistance, while I’m thinking ‘I’m just as capable as you or anyone else.’ My favorite part is seeing that inspiration trigger the next generation.

It’s so great to see that cycle of inspiration passed down to future generations. You’re a great influence and ambassador for the sport. Best of luck at Kona and we’ll catch up with you at the finish line!

We know that you’ve been incorporating CBD into your training regimen. Tell us about your favorite product and how do you use it?

I use the Sports Cream after a long workout. I’ll apply it wherever I’m the most sore. Or, after a long day of walking in my prosthetics I’ll put some on.