2004-08-13 / Sports

Granddaughter Of Rockaway Residents Heads To Olympics

By Shelly Banjo

The Joyce Family is pictured in their red shirts and white hats supporting Kara at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Long Beach, California.
The Joyce Family is pictured in their red shirts and white hats supporting Kara at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Long Beach, California.

Don and Helen Joyce of Breezy Point have watched their granddaughter, Kara Joyce, swim just about everywhere from Far Rockaway to Rochester and Ann Arbor, Mich. to Athens, Ga. as her family moved across the country. This weekend, however they will watch Kara on TV as she swims the 50m and 100m-freestyle at the Olympics in Athens, Greece.

“We’re very proud of her,” said Helen Joyce after returning from the 2004 US Olympic Trials in Long Beach, Calif.

Kara, center, poses with an American and Greek flag before heading to Athens. She is pictured with her grandparents Don and Helen Joyce on the left, and father Robert, brother Kevin and mother Kathleen on the right. 
Kara, center, poses with an American and Greek flag before heading to Athens. She is pictured with her grandparents Don and Helen Joyce on the left, and father Robert, brother Kevin and mother Kathleen on the right. Don and Helen joined more than two-dozen family members and friends cheering for her as she came in first in the women’s 100-meter freestyle final.

“She swims for less than 30 seconds but it’s absolutely exhausting just to watch,” Helen said.

Helen said Kara was born into a family of swimmers.

“Kara’s mom, Kathy, was a lifeguard and swim instructor and all of our children swam,” Helen said. “Kathy used to say Kara learned how to swim before she could walk.”

Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Kara and her family moved to Rochester, NY and then to Ann Arbor, Michigan where Kara was named the National High School Swimmer of 2002-2003. She currently attends University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

Kara’s family came from all over the US to support her at the Olympic Trials.

To bring the family together and celebrate Kara, Don Joyce sponsored a dinner on “The Queen Mary,” an ocean liner in Long Beach, CA, for about 35 people.

“All of our children and our children’s children were there, it was a great event” said Helen.

The family even had matching red “Team Joyce” shirts and white hats with Kara written on them made for the event.

“You could see us coming, it was a great opportunity for picture taking” said Helen.

The next stop for Kara Joyce is the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece where she will compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Although the dozens of family members that came to Long Beach, including Don and Helen, will only be able to watch Kara on TV, she will not be on her own.

Her mother, Kathy, father, Robert and two brothers, Kevin and Sean, as well as her aunt Irene are going along.

“It really has been a family thing, not just an individual thing,” Kara told Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle about her swimming success. “No one gets to this level by themselves.”

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