Kelsey Newbold is Rincon’s miracle in the poolby Andy Morales on Oct. 11, 2012, under Sports
Brianna Leverenz calls Kelsey Newbold a “swimming miracle.”
“You’re not going to hear that from her but you will hear it from the rest of us,” added Leverenz.
Newbold is a junior swimmer for Rincon/UHS who just goes about her business and wins a few important races without all of the publicity afforded to other standout athletes. So, when a swimmer of Leverenz’s stature goes out of her way to point her out, it’s worth taking note.
The “miracle” part of Newbold has nothing to do with her swimming and, yet, has everything to do with her swimming. Born with an extra first rib, the small space between her clavicle and her rib was severely compromised. Add to that some extra muscle that she developed as a top swimmer, and the vein and other tissues that run through that small opening had no room to properly function.
The result was a life-threatening blood clot that was not discovered until the summer of 2010. “An ultra sound didn’t find it,” explained Newbold. “We were told there was nothing there so I went on and swam for another month.”
That was quite possibly the worst thing an athlete can do with that condition. Baseball players, golfers, volleyball players and other athletes who complete repetitive shoulder movements are prone to develop Venous Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) even if they do not have the extra bone.
Newbold had all the classic symptoms including swelling and pain in her right arm but her family was not aware of her condition until she visited a vascular surgeon who scheduled an emergency procedure the very night of their appointment after he found the blood clot.
“She was sent in to try and remove the clot but they were unsuccessful,” said her mother Suella Spencer.
“They gathered a team for the next morning and there were complications so the surgery lasted longer than they said it would. It was hard to see her that way.”
The complication was a collapse of her lung during the removal of the extra rib. “The doctor told me it was pretty bad in there when they opened me up,” added Newbold.
“I spent five days in the ICU and they could not get the blood clot out. They told me it was stuck in there pretty good.”
Newbold has an almost unnoticeable scar on both sides of her neck where the neck meets her shoulder because the doctors felt it was important to take preventative measures on the left side of her body last summer.
Newbold got to keep the rib from her left side as a souvenir of sorts but she also gets to swim even when conventional wisdom might go against it.
“She has been swimming since she was eight,” her mother explained. “We talked with her vascular surgeon and she swims a little differently and competes without hurting herself.”
Newbold cannot do activities that might increase the muscle mass in the shoulder area so she is focusing on her lower body. She must be doing something right because she has plenty of ribbons and medals to go with her rib and with the clot she still carries in her neck.
So, in many ways, she is a swimming miracle. Lets hope for many more.
Rincon/UHS was scheduled to swim Sahuaro on Thursday night but it was a shock to find Udall Pool was double booked with another meet.
Sabino was hosting Pueblo and Desert View at the same time due to a scheduling error. There could be no rescheduling, Sabino and Sahuaro were swimming as part of the “senior night” activities and there were plenty of lanes so it decided to run the two meets at the same time with the tri-meet switching off with the dual meet.
The meet went as smooth as it possibly could and had the feeling of a small invitational.
The Sabino boys scored 122 points to beat Pueblo (30) and Desert View (16) and the Sabercat girls scored 163 points to Desert View’s 49 and Pueblo’s 11.
The Rincon/UHS boy defeated Sahuaro 134 to 36 and the girls won 133 to 37.
All results can be found here: RESULTS
Former University of Arizona swimmer Chris Trimble has taken over the Rincon/UHS boy’s team with the passing of championship coach Mike Ward last year. According to the team, the Rincon boys have not lost a meet this year.
Sabino coach Lora Wright and her husband Bob were able to take some time off to watch their daughter Caitlin Wright compete for NAU this past year. Caitlin was named NAU’s Female Newcomer of the Year after she earned two All-WAC first team honors in the 1650 freestyle and 500 freestyle. She holds the fourth fastest times in Lumberjack history in both events as a freshman.
Rincon/UHS girl’s coach Patty Olstad is all set to host the Mike Ward Memorial Swim & Dive Invitational set to take place on October 27 at the Amphi Pool. The event used to be referred to as a “last chance” meet for the swimmers who still need qualifying times.
The girl’s 500 Free featured the of the top swimmers in the area with Leverenz, Sahuaro’s Alexis Weyker and Sabino’s Megan Birch entering the pool at the same time.