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….
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.
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.
I spent the past week in Ohio with my girl friend. It was great to take a break from swimming for a whole week. The time flew by and didn’t feel long enough. My girl friend is a great synchronized swimmer and is a student at Ohio State University. This past week was Senior Nationals for them, so I was a temporary Buckeye for the week. I got to see a lot of the National team swimmers that came to the Olympic Training Center (OTC) this past fall. Ohio State won the meet and swam great.
I got the pleasure of meeting the infamous Meghan Kinney. She was the alternate for the 2008 Olympic team. She has been on many National teams for synchronized swimming. This past fall she was at the OTC for 2 days and then had to leave the team because of a tumor in her leg. She was a diagnosed with Osteosarcoma which is a very rare form of bone cancer. They did a whole knee replacement. Future paralympian? Meghan is currently going through chemo and she has a long 5 months ahead of her.
She has one of the most impressive support systems through the synchronized swimming world. She is hands down one of the most positive, happy, all around great human beings I have ever met in my life. She also pulls the baldhead look off very well. Cancer is something that not only test your life and is taxing on your body, but being able to go through something this life changing and having to give up your sport is something that every elite athlete fears. As an elite athlete that trains my life away swimming up and down a pool enough times to swim around the world 4 times a year, I really am thankful that I can say I am healthy. I know that when I was going through the changes of losing my vision it is hard to think of where your life is going, what to do and how to act towards everything. But Meghan is by far positive and words can’t describe the attitude she has towards everything. Seeing the way that she handles everyday with a smile and a glow in her face is a story that will be told for a very long time.
Wednesday, January 19 – Children’s Hospital
This past Sunday I got to do one of the most positive things I’ve done in a really long time… I got to visit the Children’s Hospital in Denver, CO. I along with eight other athletes and Ronald McDonald got the opportunity to walk floor to floor and visit with some of the most courageous kids in my eyes I have ever met battling a number of illnesses.
We spent time talking sharing goals and dreams and presented them with signed calendar’s and in returned they gave us their signatures on a USA flag that will be hung in our athlete’s center. Our goal was to do our best to make them laugh and smile, while knowing that they are going through very tough times.
Because of their illnesses, they are missing out on great parts of their childhoods, but pushing through very rough times all with a smile and SUPER strong WILL! If by us going there took their mind off their condition for just 5 minutes, then that was our way of doing something small in the scheme of something so big.
My heart goes out to them and my visit made a huge impact on me. My hope is that they keep their heads up with a positive attitude and that one day they will come swim with us in the pool at the Olympic Training Center.
Monday, January 10, 2011 – 2010 Highlights
2010 was a great year full of challenges and opportunities. If I had to pick two things that were milestones for the past year, it would have to be competing at the IPC Swimming World Championships in the Netherlands in August as this meet was important as it determined the number of spots for the guys for London 2012. This meet was also a great test for me personally as I raced and medaled against the same people that beat me at the 2008 Paralympics, thus earning me a slot on the 2012 team. The second would have to be moving out to the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Living at the OTC has been a wonderful experience. I have met some incredible athletes from many different sports and the atmosphere here is amazing with a great deal of pride, each of us pushing each other to be the best that we can be as we all continue to work hard and live our dream of standing on the podium in 2012.
I competed in seven swim meets: The RSA Jubilee Meet, NC (January); Spring Canadian American Championships, San Antonio, TX (March); 7th Annual GTAC Disability Open, Ohio (May); Jimi Flowers Classic, , CO (June); IPC Swimming World Championships, Netherlands (August); Santa Clara Swim Club Disability Meet, CA (October) and the Speedo CAN-AM Para-Swimming Championships, Canada (December).
I also had the great fortune to speak and share my story and experience with these seven groups and/or organizations: Governor Morehead School, NC (January); Knightdale-Wake Forest Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Jabberwock, NC (March); The National Association of Blind Students North Carolina Chapter Meeting, NC (March); Dillard Drive Middle School Athletic Banquet, NC (May); Exploris Middle School Graduation, NC (May); Olympic Day Activity at Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club, NC (June) and Mesa Middle School, CO (September).
I was also able to participate in two events: The Carolina Hurricanes Game, NC (January) and the 26th Annual Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade, CO (December).
What a great year all the way around.
Thanks everyone for following my progress, for your constant support and for allowing me to live and follow my dream! So here’s to another great year.
Wednesday, December 8 – Energy Armor Bracelets
I don’t know how many of you have heard about these bracelets containing a strong negative ION compound, however, it is incredible. The bracelets are made by a company called Energy Armor and is designed to work with your body’s natural energy field providing you with more strength, balance and flexibility. Trust me, they really do work and I can tell a big difference. So if you are looking for a great stocking stuffer for Christmas for around $20, check your local mall for an independent kiosk vendor or their web site at www.energy-armor.com.
Monday, December 6 – Festival of Lights Parade
This past Saturday I got to be part of the 26th Annual Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade. The Parade is just part of a series of events to celebrate the December holiday season filled with cultural and artistic programs, performances and other festivities for the general public. This year’s Parade choose the Empty Stocking Fund as its charity of choice and collected donations during the Parade.
This was a great event and I was honored to be able to participate. We were presented with some amazing clothing to wear during the Parade: a Nike jacket, scarf and hat. We left the Olympic Training Center at 4:30 pm to go to the parade and sat around and drank hot chocolate and eat cookies till 5:50 pm then lined up and marched through the parade. It was so cool to see all the people in attendance for the parade and walking down the street screaming “USA” and seeing the crowd’s reaction was a BLAST!
Sunday, November 28 – Thanksgiving Break
What an amazing holiday week back in North Carolina. It was an amazing time to be back with family and friends. My girl friend and I flew to North Carolina on Tuesday. It was interesting to notice the difference of how the air and altitude from Colorado to North Carolina is. I don’t remember just how thick the air is to breathe in North Carolina then when I stepped off the plane. I also miss the warm weather in North Carolina. I love wearing shorts and not having to wear a jacket when I go outside a building is a very nice thing as well. We went out to dinner with my parents and friends to Carrabas, then to a local hangout with friends.
Wednesday morning, I wanted my girl friend to experience a little North Carolina food, so off to the infamous Bojangles. She realized that she was at a true southern restaurant when they asked what her “side” was for breakfast and the lady told her that the “fix’ens” (sides) were on the board. Then we headed to theater to watch the new Harry Potter movie with my best friend. After the movie we went to dinner and then to a Carolina Hurricanes game. The Canes lost, however, we had a blast.
Thursday was Thanksgiving. It was a very interesting experience for my girl friend to meet the southern part of my family. The lingo was something I think her California ears had to get use to… words like “ain’t” and “ya’ll” is something she’s not used to hearing. We had lunch with my family then went to family friends house for Thanksgiving dinner.
Friday we decided to venture out into the craziness of black Friday. I finished up all of my shopping except for one person. Then I got to go to dinner with my girl friend for an amazing going away dinner at a Japanese steak house. We had to pack for the way to early flight the following morning departing at 6:00 am.
It was a short, but great trip home and now it’s back to the water to get ready to the meet that I have in Canada in the next week and a half.
I have lots to be thankful for and I hope that your Thanksgiving was as great as mine.