Lutz teen qualifies for Olympic Swimming Trials with support of brother battling brain cancer


LUTZ, Fla. (WFLA) – I am certain you have heard the phrase, “when one door closes, another door opens.” Lexie Mulvihill realized the meaning of that phrase at a young age.

“I started when I was 8 years old,” she said in regards to her swimming career. “I started because I did gymnastics first and then I was too tall so my parents were like, ‘Don’t you want to find a sport where you know you can excel in later in life?’ I joined the swim team.”

Lexie – who is nearly 5 feet 11 inches tall at only 16 years of age – walks or, in this case, swims toward every opportunity with a smile on her face.

“Honestly,” she told me, “every single race I have I go out and have fun so I don’t really get super nervous. All I think about is racing people and having fun.”

That mindset is a key part of her swimming success.

“I always knew I could do it,” she said. “I just did not know when I could do it because I am very passionate about swimming. I am very motivated and, when I want a goal, I will work as hard as I can to get it.”

Lexie competed in the Junior National Championships in California in August. While her mom watched her from the stands, her grandma, her dad, and her brother watched her from their home in Lutz.

“I am very close with my brother,” Lexie told me.

His name is Jake and, according to his sister, he is tough.

Lexie with her younger brother, Jake

“He was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 7,” said Lexie, “and it just turned cancerous around April. He has been pretty sick this whole summer.”

Jake has been battling cancer but he has also been cheering for his sister.

“He has always been so proud of me,” she said. “Even before everything, he has always thought the world of me so it is really comforting knowing that he is there supporting me all of the time.”

Lexie actually qualified to race in the 2020 Olympic Trials in June.

“Jake used to swim and he cannot swim at the moment so now I feel like I am swimming for him too,” said Lexie, “and seeing everything that he has gone through makes me think I have to have fun with the sport and give it all I have. Honestly, that has helped me a lot this summer. I feel like this summer, this season, I have gotten a lot better so I do give a little credit to him.”

Lexie and Jake are currently in Hawaii with their parents and their grandma. Jake wanted to explore the state and the Make-A-Wish Foundation enabled him to do it.

Lexie sent me the following photos of their adventures in Hawaii.

Jake and Lexie at the airport
Lexie, who is second from the right, with her father, her mother,
her brother, and her grandmother
swimming with sharks
Lexie and Jake relaxing

“Jake is having so much fun,” Lexie told me in a text message. “Being here definitely gives him hope and motivation to keep fighting.”


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