Ryoko Nakajima

Tokyo, Japan

University of Southern California

B.A. Cinema, Television, Fall 2011

Ryoko hails from Japan where as a child she excelled in many sports but her favorite was tennis. She started playing in kindergarten and had dreams of playing professionally. Without warning at the tender age of nine, an inflammation of the spinal cord, later diagnosed as transverse myelitis resulted in a yearlong stay in the hospital and permanent paralysis. At the age of ten, she went with a friend to see the movie Titanic which both inspired her and began a lifelong love of and fascination with movies and filmmaking. After meeting Paralympics medalist swimmer Mayumi Narita Ryoko’s eyes were opened to the myriad of sports opportunities open to her and she started playing wheelchair basketball and tennis. She eventually learned to swim and loves the water.  With the goal of obtaining a degree in Cinema-Television, she moved to the United States where she attended El Camino College prior to transferring to USC. Ryoko is excited to study and plans to train hard so that she can be an active participant at Swim With Mike this year.