Prince Harry helped to kick off the 2016 Invictus Games at the Swim Venue

Orlando– Prince Harry and Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe were on deck to help kick off the 2016 Invictus Games, an international competition featuring Wounded Warriors from 14 countries.

Competing in a temporary pool at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, swimmers competed in the preliminary rounds Saturday. Using mostly local swim officials and Disney VoluntEars to run the event, the meet’s stands were packed with cheering fans.

Swim Events Preliminaries

Both men and women competed in the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 100m freestyle and a mixed 4x50m freestyle relay.

Swimming heats at Invictus Games 2016
U.S. Air Force veteran Leonard Anderson competes in a preliminary swim competition during Invictus Games 2016 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla., May 7, 2016. The Invictus Games are the United Kingdom’s version of the Warrior Games, bringing together wounded veterans from 14 nations for events including track and field, archery, wheelchair basketball, road cycling, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball and a driving challenge. DoD photo by Roger Wollenberg.

Floridian Mike Roggio Swims Well

The UK and U.S. competitors were neck and neck throughout the morning, but UK came out on top and won the majority of the heats.

U.S. competitor Mike Roggio received one of his personal best times, giving him the opportunity to move on to the Wednesday finals and a chance for a medal.

Mike, who was originally from New Smyrna Beach and now lives in Oviedo, was a Navy rescue swimmers who even tried out for the Navy Seals. He became a search-and-rescue swimmer, with an emphasis on human and drug trafficking, who often had to dodge bullets and was credited with 57 rescues and seizing 11 metric tons of cocaine.

Mike was injured when he slipped on tools and debris and fell down a flight of stairs at Naval Station Mayport in 2009, when he broke two vertebrae in his neck.

Due to a hospital mishap, where his X-rays were accidentally switched with another patient’s, Mike’s broken neck went undiagnosed for almost a year that he spent bedridden in diapers for 10 months, most of them in constant pain and with paralysis in his hands and legs.

Finally doctors did another MRI and he was rushed to emergency surgery where a hinge and two rods were inserted. At the time, he was told he may never walk again.

While he still suffers from periodic pain and occasional paralysis in his arms and legs, Mike has rallied and competes in swimming in the adaptive sports arena. He will compete in the Invictus Games finals on Wednesday night.

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Final results from Prelims.