Brazilian Swimming Open Championships
The week of October 12th, I was honored to represent the US in the 2011 Loterias Caixa Swimming Open held in beautiful BRAZIL! The team left on Saturday from Colorado and it was SNOWING!!!! When we landed in Houston we had a lovely 4 hour layover….never fun. After a long dinner and passing the time working on my Ipad, we got onto the redeye flight at 9 pm. We landed into Brazil the next day at 8 am. Trying to sleep on the plan is never an easy task so it was not the best sleep I have ever had that is for sure. We didn’t have to swim on Sunday so we just went to the hotel to relaxed and catch up on some much needed rest. Monday and Tuesday we got in the pool to test out the waters and just flop around before the meet started on Wednesday.
All in all I had a great meet for just being on a week or so rest. Swimming at sea level also feels amazing to be able to breath again. The meet also had a prize purse and was awarded based on points that you could score from how far you were off the world record or the fastest time swam this year. My 100 Meter Butterfly scored me 97.9 points, put me 7th best swim of the meet and won 1,000 euros, not pay for 4 days of work. I also swam in 3 other events and brought home 4 gold medals. I wish I had that kinda of meet every 2 weeks.
2011 Santa Clara Swim Club Disability Meet
On September 30-October 2 I got to compete in the 2011 Santa Clara Swim Club Disability Meet held in Santa Clara, California. This was a fun meet that is very important for those entering the wonderful world of Paralympic swimming/developmental athletes to meet with national team. This gave us a chance to interact and for them to ask us a wide range of questions to help them prepare for their future. I swam pretty tired as I was preparing for another meet. I swam the 50 Meter Breaststroke, not one of my favorite events, and broke the Pan-American Record. Although this was not a sanctioned event, it had a time that needed to be broken and I was up for the challenge. I am very excited to leave for Brazil in a few days and can’t wait to let everyone know how I do.
Team USA wrapped up the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships with 69 total medals to finish second overall in the medal count just behind Australia with a total of 76 medals.
I went to Edmonton and swam decent, although it wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be at this point of the year. Being a year out from the 2012 Olympic Games, I wanted to make sure I was faster than I was last year at the World Championships. I felt a little under rested and not as strong in the water as I had hoped for. This past year, I have been training extremely hard, pushing my body to the limit, harder than ever before, so I am sure that this was a factor as well. I know that I am getting stronger and I learn from each swim meet that I participate in. I continue to work with my coach on my training to strengthen and perfect my swimming technique for the 2012 Paralympic Games next year in London. All in all, I did go a best time in the 50 Meter Freestyle and re-instated my American and Pan-American Record and was about a half second off my personal best times on all of my other events. I will be traveling to Brazil in October and will keep everyone posted on my progress.
Last weekend I got to compete in the Montreal World Challenge. It was a huge honor to be invited and compete at this invitation only swim meet. There is a blind swimmer from Canada that gets to invite 7 other blind swimmers to race in 1 event for a cash prize. I was invited to swim and compete in the 100 Meter Butterfly. I swam a great time for this part of my season. I took first place in the event and took 4 seconds off my life’s time best. I also got to compete in 4 other events: 100 Meter Freestyle, 100 Meter Backstroke, 50 Meter Butterfly and the 50 Meter Freestyle as well. I set a new Pan-American Record, an American Record and a lifetime best in the 50 Meter Butterfly. The two highlights from this meet were winning the 100 Meter Butterfly and setting the 2 New Records in the 50 Meter Butterfly.
It was a great time and the Canadian hospitality was outstanding. Everything was taken care of from the moment I stepped off the plane to the moment I left including ground transportation, hotel and meals. It really felt good to feel like we had a purpose to be there and people wanted us to swim fast and not worry about everything else, thus allowing us to focus on swimming and doing our best. I think that this swim meet, the bringing together of both Paralympic and Olympic swimmers under one roof is a great model and one I hope that we can implement here in the USA.
Until next time….
This weekend, I am flying out to Los Angeles for my girlfriends brother’s wedding. The house where the wedding is being held is beyond amazing. The wedding will be held in an orange orchard in Southern California. Today I got the privilege of setting up 288 chairs.
On Friday, we are going to Six Flags Amusement Park for the day. Then we‘ll be heading back home to get ready for the rehearsal dinner.
Saturday afternoon is the actual wedding and it will be full of dancing, great food and uniting of two families.
I go back to the Olympic Training Center on Sunday and get geared up to go to the Quebec Cup next week. This meet is going to be amazing just because it is a abled body and Paralympic mixed meet. Michael Phelps will be there along with other big named swimmers. This meet also has prize money built into the races so I hope to win the event that I was invited to swim. I leave Wednesday and return on Sunday. The meet will take place on Thursday thru Saturday. I will keep everyone up-to-date of how the meet is going and pictures as well.
Until next time….
This past weekend I got to fly to Ohio for the 8th Annual GTAC Disability Meet in Cincinnati. I flew into Columbus on Friday afternoon to meet my beautiful girl friend and wonderful mother where we rented a car then drove down to Cincinnati. We arrived at the hotel, checked in and grabbed a bite to eat then off to bed as I had an early start the next morning.
This swim meet was important to my overall training as I just came off a big meet so the purpose of this meet was for me to swim through it tired. The other part and probably the most important was for me mingle, meet and talk with the new faces and upcoming swimmers which are the future of Paralympic Swimming.
I got the great pleasure of meeting a young 11 year old that was a stud and he swam great. It was a blast to see his enjoyment of racing as it reminded me of how fortunate I am and the pure enjoyment swimming and competing has brought to me over the years.
After swimming all 3 sessions of the meet, it was back to Columbus and then back to the Olympic Training Center.
I am very excited to be joining the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) team. I will be helping out as an Internship focusing on their Facebook page, planning the Youth World Championships scheduled for this Summer and odd jobs that need to get done. I start tomorrow.
This is going to be a great avenue where I can really give them insight into the future of blind athletes and be a role model at events when needed. This is also a great opportunity to network with hopes that this could open doors in the future as well.
Mission – The United States Association of Blind Athletes enhances the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity.
Vision – USABA’s strategic vision is to become the nation’s leading resource for sports opportunities for Americans who are blind and visually impaired.
I hope that you will take time to learn more about this wonderful organization by visiting their USABA web site. Also, join their Facebook page.
I am very excited to announce that I have been selected to represent the USA and compete at the 2011 Canadian Paralympic Swimming World Challenge, an invitation only event, being held in Montreal June 30 – July 3, 2011. This competition will showcase some of the world’s greatest Paralympic swimmers. I will be competing in the 100 Meter Butterfly. The competition will be held at the site of the Montreal’s 1976 Olympic Pool.
This past Sunday I got the great opportunity to go to an amusement park with a couple of my friends. The weather was great. It was nice to be outside in the sun. There were a whole lot of great roller-coasters. This was a great weekend before my birthday this up coming week. I get to turn the big 22 year’s old. I am very excited to be one year older.
Whoa it is so hard to call back home and here that is in the 80′s in North Carolina. The weather here is so freaking weird. Yesterday I was in my way to the weight room and I kid you not, in front of me there was snow falling behind me was sunshine and rain to my left. 3 different types of weather within 5 yards proximity of me. This week it is suppose to start to warm up and boy am I ready to put the jackets away and start to break out the shorts.