2013-08-08 / Sports

Jordan sets gold standard in pool

Cal Lutheran swimmer is up for NCAA Woman of the Year award
By Gilberto Manzano


Cortney Jordan Cortney Jordan Nothing can top capturing a gold medal at the Olympics.

Cortney Jordan is up for an award that could be just as sweet as the gold medal she won at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Jordan, a recent Cal Lutheran University graduate and a member of the Regal swim team, is a nominee for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

“I was shocked I was nominated,” said Jordan, who excels in the 50-meter freestyle, 100 freestyle and 400 freestyle races. “I’m honored to be up for this award with so many wonderful and talented athletes.

“This is so cool. It’s up there with competing in the Paralympics.”

Jordan, a native of Henderson, Nev., will find out later this month if she makes the round of 30. The winner will be announced in October.

The former Regal has enjoyed a very successful collegiate and Paralympic career despite being unable to feel the left side of her body.


REGAL CHAMP—Cortney Jordan, a recent Cal Lutheran University graduate, is a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. The swimmer won eight medals at two Paralympics in London and Beijing. 
Photos courtesy of Tracy Maple/Cal Lutheran University REGAL CHAMP—Cortney Jordan, a recent Cal Lutheran University graduate, is a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. The swimmer won eight medals at two Paralympics in London and Beijing. Photos courtesy of Tracy Maple/Cal Lutheran University Jordan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after being born three months premature.

She also walks with a limp and has constant back pain.

“When I’m in the pool, I don’t feel pain,” said Jordan, who won the gold medal in the women’s 50 freestyle at Beijing in 2008. “It’s the only place where I don’t feel pain.

“Swimming has been great for my life. It has given me a lot more strength and usage of my body.”

Jordan, 22, won four medals as a 17-year-old in Beijing.

She went on to win four more medals as a U.S. swim team captain in 2012 at the London Paralympic Games.


TRUE GRIT—Cortney Jordan, 22, of Henderson, Nev., has overcome cerebral palsy to become a world champion swimmer. TRUE GRIT—Cortney Jordan, 22, of Henderson, Nev., has overcome cerebral palsy to become a world champion swimmer. Jordan holds 17 American swimming records in the S7 criteria for disabled athletes.

“Cortney is amazing in the pool,” said Juliana Rios, Jordan’s teammate at CLU. “She keeps up with the able-bodied swimmers. She’s a great swimmer, but she’s an even better teammate. She always cheers for everyone and gets everyone pumped.

“She’s very inspirational for our team. Cortney has worked so hard.”

It took Jordan a long time to figure out she was a maestro in the pool. She started competing at the age of 7 with able-bodied swimmers.

“ I was very discouraged when I first started swimming,” said Jordan, who received her degree in liberal studies and wants to become a teacher. “I always ended up last. It was very difficult for me.

“I did a competition with other disabled swimmers when I was 13. I won every race. I didn’t know there was a Paralympics.”

Jordan, a CLU captain last season, is an ambassador for the Paralympics and spreads awareness of the opportunities for disabled athletes.

The freestyle swimmer will compete in the Paralympic World Championships in Montreal starting Monday. She spent the summer working out at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Jessica Long said Jordan has an upbeat personality.

“Cortney is someone you want to be friends with,” said Long, Cortney’s teammate on the U.S. Paralympic swim team. Long has won 12 Paralympic gold medals. “She’s always smiling. Nothing can hold her back. She’s always positive.

“She has been a great example for the younger swimmers. She puts everyone else first before herself.”

Jordan, who had a 3.8 gradepoint average at Cal Lutheran, was recently named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.

The gold medal champion said there’s a high possibility the Paralympics Games in 2016 could be the last time she competes in the pool.

“Swimming has done so much for my life, but I still have many goals I want to accomplish,” Jordan said.

“It would be nice to finish with another gold medal.”

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