Tucker Dupree is 21 years old, visually impaired athlete who has excelled in the sport of swimming. Tucker lost his vision at age 17 when he was diagnosed with a rare disease called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON).
Tucker, a gold medalist and world record holder, is one of the top blind swimmers in America holding a World Record in the 50m and 100m Butterfly, 29 American Records and 6 Pan-American Records.
Tucker continues to inspire everyone with his positive attitude and outlook on life. He is very determined who focuses on his ability and not his disability as he strives to achieve his goals.
What has happened in the last month? I made the World Championship team that will be going to Holland in the fall. This meet is huge and means a lot to me and just the fact that I swam fast enough to make it. The number of medals this team brings back from that meet determines how many spots will be opened up for the 2012 team…. No pressure.
My Birthday is right around the corner. I am so ready for my big 21st birthday. My 21st actually falls on a Tuesday and I will be celebrating my actual birthday weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio at a swim meet. Story of my life!
Until Next time..
Today I got to sleep in till 11:30 am here in Texas. I ate a bagel and drank coffee as I waited for my parents to come back to the hotel and pick me up so I could get some real food from Subway.
After driving around the whole community college campus we finally found the pool. I changed and got into the super cold pool. After over coming the cold tempter I started to stretch out and see how the flight made me feel. I did some pace 100’s and I have a feeling the 400 tomorrow is going to feel super long. I haven’t raced long course meters in 5 months. Warm-up’s start at 7:30 am tomorrow.
Let the meet begin…
Just 19 days away from the 2010 Spring Canadian American Championships being held in Texas. I am ready to swim fast. Training lately has been hell. Lifting is starting to taper off already and in about 8 days, I will start to come down in yardage for swimming. Resting is right around the corner and it couldn’t come any slower.
The meet in Texas is super important as this will decide the team for the long course World Championships held in Eindhoven, Netherlands in August. The US World Championship team will have a lot of pressure as the medal count, what we bring home from that meet, depicts how many slots open up for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
The past 2 weekends I have been doing photo shoot’s. We have captured some amazing shots that will be out very soon. We shot in a studio and at the pool and I would like to thank all the people that helped and made it happen.
Funny story. I had a lady a couple weeks ago stop me at the pool and ask me, “Did you go to the Special Olympics or the Real Olympics?” and I thought, “Why is she asking me this?” then she said, “I saw your tattoo and I was wondering.” Wanting to respond with, “No I am part of a huge fan club and when you join you have to get the rings on your back,” I said, “I actually went to the Paralympics which is people with physical disability’s and I am legally blind and it was the most life changing event I ever went through in my life and I words can’t explain the experience.” She told me she was going to look it up and see what this whole Paralympics thing was about. These encounter’s make me really realize that people don’t know a whole lot about the Paralympics at all. So it is my job as a Paralympian to help educate them.
Please note that you can now following me on Twitter at TuckerUSA1.
Until next time…
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and brought the New Year in as best they could. I know that the year of 2009 was an amazing year for me.
- Went to Cincinnati for Spring Can-Am’s
- Went to Canada and qualified for the World Championship Team
- Went to Brazil and won Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze
- Won the 100M Butterfly and walked a way a World Class Athlete and a World Record holder
- Got my first Tattoo
- Was recognized by the Mayor of Garner for my Outstanding Character
- Was named number 4 North Carolina Athlete of the Decade
On January 22, 2010 I will have the opportunity to speak to the entire student body of the Governor Moorhead School for the Blind. I love to give back to a great school that does so many amazing things for the Raleigh area visually impaired population. I will be speaking for 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of question and answer session.
The New Year is off to a great start so far. I am proud to announce that AmbuTech Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of mobility canes and mobility aids for the blind and visually impaired, have agreed to partner with me and become a sponsor. I am really excited about this opportunity and will be sharing more details at a later date.
This upcoming year has a whole lot in store as far as swimming goes. I have a meet in Texas the weekend of March 25th. This meet is huge as I will have to swim extremely fast to insure a spot on the US Team for the 2010 Long Course IPC Swimming World Championships that will head to the Netherlands in August.
So now it is back into the pool and the weight room. I have a long 7-month stretch ahead and I am ready to put my working cap back on. So please follow me and I will keep you up to date on everything.
Until next time,
Tucker made the short list for The News & Observer Athlete of the Decade for North Carolina. Please vote for Tucker Dupree. Voting must be completed by Monday, December 21. Please help spread the news.
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On Tuesday, 08DEC, I went to get my first tattoo. I woke up around 11:00 am and some friends of mine picked me up. We went to Bo Jangles because it was the number one food that I missed while in Brazil. When we got to the tattoo place I handed them several different options of how I wanted the Olympic rings to be placed on my back. After a little running around we finally got into the tattoo booth. We set up the video camera, I laid on my stomach and the outlining of the Olympic rings and USA began. 40 minutes later, I had a beautiful tattoo on my back.
On the day we were leaving to come home our flight didn’t leave until 9:00 pm, thus giving us the whole day to kill and do some sightseeing. The coaches had put together the option to go to the beach or go to the Christ Redeemer statue. I thought well I have seen the Great Wall and who knows when I will get the opportunity to see another one of the 7 Wonders of the World, so I decided to go the statue.
Our bus left sharply at 8:00 am. Our hotel was about 2 hours away, so we thought. As our bus was climbing the hill and getting close to the statue, a guard stopped the bus and said we didn’t have permission to drive all the way to the top, so we parked the bus. We noticed there was a trolley car that would take you to the top. We all bought tickets and got in line. We went to the top and words can’t explain the size of the statue as this is nothing to what it looks like in Google images, the statue is huge. We took pictures with the statue and you had to either use a wide-angle lens or you could lie down and get the whole statue in the picture. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to go as the weather was beautiful. The clouds would move behind the statue and it was so big it looked like the statue was moving from what I could see. We rode back down the mountain and got on the bus and went back to the hotel. We had lunch and then hung out in the team room until 3:00 pm and started to make our way to the airport.
Given that this was an international flight, we arrived at the airport early, so we had time to spare. A couple of us went to the food court. There wasn’t a McDonalds but there was a place that looked like McDonald’s, however, this place was called Bob’s. I got a cheese burger that was suppose to be like a Big Mac. Yeah, it didn’t even taste like hamburger meat, but it satisfied my hunger. We finally were able to check in, go through security and made our way to our terminal. We boarded our plane and I was in the exact same seat that I was in on the way to Brazil. Our plane was huge. There were 4 different classes. The first leg of the flight was only 55 minutes, then we had a 2-hour layover and then we departed for our 9-hour flight to Washington/Dulles.
We landed into Washington/Dulles at 6am. I rushed off the plane as fast as I could, went through customs and made my way to my terminal, only to find out that my flight was cancelled. I then had to get a ticket for the next flight to RDU and it didn’t leave until 12:30 pm. Now faced with another 6 hour layover.
When I finally got into RDU, my mom’s class and local media met me for interviews. All of the kids were chanting, “Tucker, Tucker, Tucker.” I showed everyone my medals and did a TV interview. I was ready to get home. We went to dinner then headed home and all I could do was to collapse from and amazing trip.
I have posted a few picture and plan to add more later so please visit the “Gallery“.
Thanks for all your prayers and support.
The 100m Freestyle was my last race. It was day 7 of the meet and man did it feel like it! The weather conditions had been gloomy and overcast the past 2 days and it was finally starting to clear up. My only thought was to finish the race, a medal and standing on the podium one more time. We were ushered out to the blocks and I couldn’t help but think about how I hoped my suit doesn’t rip like in the previous race. I did my usual ritual before the race. I got on the blocks and dove in, I was in the zone. The first 50m felt amazing and it wasn’t until the back half that I started to feel the fatigue. I pushed through the last 50m, touched the wall and got 3rd. As everyone finished, I was satisfied with my performance as I did my best on that day. I can remember thinking to myself, “ I am #1 in the World in the 100m Butterfly and I made it to the podium in every event that I raced.” This is defiantly one of the top memories that I have had in my swimming career.
The News & Observer sports department needs our help to find the one and only area Athlete of the Decade. Please vote for Tucker Dupree. They are accepting submissions until December 11. Please help spread the news.
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Today the weather was terrible, 30 degrees Celsius and rainy, however, a great day in the pool! I placed second in the 100m Backstroke and bringing home another silver medal. My time was 1:00.73 and set a new American Record. First Place went to Alexander Nevolin-svetov from Russia with a time of 57.54, a new World Record, and Third Place to Albert Gelis Juanola of Spain with a time of 1:02.31. Due to the bad weather conditions, there were no medal ceremonies this evening. Side note: I had a swim suit malfunction – as I was getting into the pool right before the start of the race, the seam in the back of the suit broke loose and I had to swim partially exposed. How embarrassing.
I have one more race set for Saturday, 05DEC and it is the 100m Freestyle. The current World Record was set in March of 2007 with a time of 56.52 by Enrique Floriano Millan of Spain. My qualifying time was 54.61, seeded 2nd and will be swimming in lane 5. A new world record will be set.
So my standings and medal count is as follows:
- Gold – 100m Butterfly – Set new World Record
- Silver – 50m Freestyle – Set new American Record
- Silver – 100m Backstroke – Set new American Record
- Bronze – 400m Freestyle – Set new American Record
Day sixth of the competition and my body is feeling it. Tonight the team is having spaghetti for dinner then off to bed. I will rise early and head to the pool to warm up so that I am prepared for the race at 18:33.
I really miss home and look forward to returning on Monday.
Thanks for your support.