EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME!

Two years ago I started swimming again with a team, post-SCI, and only just then learned about the Paralympics. Ever since I started swimming as a little girl, I wanted to go to the Olympics. And while I never made it to Olympic Trials, I never imagined having the opportunity to compete in the US Paralympic Trials. This week/end was absolutely amazing, swimming with some of the world’s best swimmers and I have so many people to thank for helping me get here- my coaches, parents, trainers, friends, family, co-workers, people I don’t even know and especially those who traveled to meets with me all over the US and Canada to help on deck.

It’s incredible to think about how far I have come over the past two years in which I never would have imagined sitting in call rooms (race ready rooms where swimmers are gathered 20 minutes before it is time to race), competing side by side with the US’s best para swimmers but this week/end I reached my goal of getting to Trials and having an awesome meet- my best swim being the 200 Individual Medley which I dropped close to 8 seconds. Competition was spread out over 3 days and included 10 events for me- the last day being quite grueling with having to swim 3 events from 9-11am and the same 3 events in the Finals round from 5-7pm. While I did not make the Rio 2016 team, I can’t wait to cheer on the 31 para swimmers who will be representing Team USA. It was tough competition as there were over 100 swimmers who competed this week and although very emotional thinking back to the time put into my training in and out of the water, having to go through physical therapy for an injury to my back and rib muscles for the past 3 months, and being sick with an awful case of strep throat the week before Trials, all while balancing a full time work schedule, I couldn’t be more proud of my accomplishments this week/end! This weekend affirmed that swimming is where my heart is and I am so grateful to still have this sport in my life, SCI and all. Nothing is impossible and I thank you all for the continuous support.

Now it’s time to take a week or so off from training, pamper myself with a trip to the hair salon (which I haven’t been able to do since September) and get myself a massage, knowing I left it all in the pool and gave it my ALL this week. Many are asking what is next and these next few weeks will include restructuring my swim goals for the next year. I may not have met my ULTIMATE goal, but there are still other goals that I have to accomplish over the next year like being named to the US Emerging athletes team, participating in the Pan-American and/or World Swim Championships and continuing to train and beat the 3 out of 5 personal records I achieved at Trials. Another fun fact- after this week I am now ranked #16, 17, and 18 out of 30 swimmers in the world for 3 of my events!

Again, a huge thank you for all the donations received which covered all of my meet expenses, travel, lodging, meals, and racing suit for Trials, with some donations left over which I can use for the Canadian/American Championships this December.

Attached are some pictures from this weekend. One is of me getting ready to race my last event on day 3 of Trials, the race start, and a collage of me, my best friend, my physical therapist and coach.

Proudly wearing my red, white, and blue this week!

 

 

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