Seekonk siblings representing Cape Verde at the Tokyo Olympics

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Seekonk’s Troy and Jayla Pina are barely wet behind their ears when it comes to amateur swimming competitions, but for a historic first, the brother-sister swimming duo will travel to Tokyo on Saturday July 17 to represent Cape Town. -Green, who has never made it to an Olympic swimming team before.

Although neither of them have ever dived in the sky-colored waters of the archipelago nation, their mother was born there, making them eligible to represent Cape Verde at the Summer Games.

“Being from America and swimming for Cape Verde is definitely different, especially when we travel to places like Africa and swim at African championships,” Troy Pina told reporters. Troy, 22, is a policeman from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, who will compete in the 50 freestyle on July 30.

Jayla, 16, a senior from Seekonk High School, will compete with other world-class athletes in the 100 breaststroke, is excited to take the plunge on July 26 as Cape Verde’s first Olympic swimmer.

“So the opening ceremony is July 23, which is the exact date of my birthday,” she said. “It’s like getting a big birthday present. I can’t wait to see how it goes.”

Both do not hesitate to attribute the support of their families, their disciplined practice and their formative years to get them to this point. As the vibrant siblings take the 3-hour flight to Tokyo, family, friends and loved ones around the south coast will watch at home, due to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in Tokyo that will prevent them from families of Olympians to attend the games.

While local athletes who represent Team USA grab the headlines, few are aware that there are also South Coast athletes representing other countries at the Olympics. When asked, players and attendees at the Burgo basketball tournament in Dartmouth had no idea that there was a brother-sister duo from our area making Olympic history.

” Are you serious ? This is amazing, man! said the father of one player, who declined to give his name. “I’ll tell my friends to watch. It’s important to support the Cape Verdean relationship.”

The south coast is home to one of America’s most vibrant Cape Verdean communities, which for the first time in history will have Cape Verde represented in swimming events at the 2021 Olympics. We will watch, cheer and will encourage the Pinas who are launching themselves.

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