It was awesome getting to speak to Miss Nelson’s class a couple weeks ago. I wish I could have done this in person, but my schedule isn’t always flexible with school and training. I have known Miss Nelson since 2009 and swam with her over a summer in North Carolina and she reached out to me to talk and share my story with her class. I got a HUGE envelope from her last week full of great thank you cards with great illustrations of medals and swimming pools. Thanks for the cards and the opportunity to peak to all of you guys. Don’t let Miss Nelson be too mean to you guys, if she is let me know!
I had the great pleasure of speaking to the 4th grade class at Bailey Lake Elementary for their Disability Awareness Day. I put together some great pictures to show the kids I am just like they are on the outside and grew up the same path of a 4th grader all the way up to the age of 17. I got the opportunity to answer some great questions and hopefully show them just how much you can do if you chase your dreams. It was nice to be able to talk to them one-on-one and sign autographs after speaking as well. A great group of kids and lots of fun to educate and inspire.
On Thursday, October 24, I got the great opportunity to be a part of a great night that recognizes courage, perseverance and athletes showcasing their abilities and not their disabilities. I was a 3 time returning alumni from my 2011 induction into the Hall of Fame. It was a great night to reconnect with several friends that I know through the Paralympics and seeing new up and coming talent. The event was held a place called – Sound Board the Motor City Casino, a Four Diamond Award-Winning venue in downtown Detroit. The venue was a great backdrop for the wonderful event, but also made the inductee’s feel the in the lime light for honoring their successes and talents. It was an honor to share this night with friends and seeing familiar faces of the disabled communities here in Michigan.
It’s been nice being able to ease back into the pool after my performance at World Championships this past summer. The past two months have been great and now it time to get back to work and prepare my body for the upcoming season. This past weekend I got the opportunity to dust the dust off the racing suits and see where I am in my training and compete in a local Oakland Live Wires Swim Meet. Although I didn’t break any records, it was nice to try out some different race strategies as well as a new type of shoulder driven freestyle. It was promising and I am ready for more training and getting into the racing season.
This was a short and sweet trip. After a long week of being the IT guy at Pete Hovlands swim camp ending on Thursday, I had to wake up at 4am and head to the airport Friday morning. Cheryl Angelelli and I landed into Denver at 8am. A close friend of mine picked us up and we made our way to the Colorado Springs. After going to the pool and seeing lots of teammates, we went downtown to one of my favorite restraints in downtown Colorado Springs. After a super long day with the time change and homework done my head finally hit the pillow at 10pm mountain time.
In the morning we headed to the pool at 7am. After warming up and feeling the 6,000 feet above sea level burning my lungs, I was ready for the meet to start. Sam and Lauren Flowers opened the meet with two very heart-warming speeches about how much this meet meant to them and how carrying on their dad’s legacy, then the first heat was sent off. I swam the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter backstroke. There was a new swimmer in my classification in the 50 meter freestyle. He was seated a head of me by a second. After his attempt to beat me he touched the wall a solid 1.5 seconds after me. I also had a great 100 meter backstroke as well. After my 100 meter backstroke I got the great opportunity to be tagged by USADA. I gave my sample and made my way to the Olympic gift shop. After taking a couple pictures with some fans, who found out Cheryl Angelelli, Jessica Long and I were all medalist, we got into the car to head to the airport. After my 36 hour trip, it’s back to Michigan to start the next rounds of Pete Hovlands swim camps. Wish me luck.
In April, I was very excited to be a part of the 6th Annual Governor’s Fitness Awards.
It was an honor to be recognized along with other Olympic and Paralympic athletes, individuals and organizations from Michigan that encourage others to make healthy choices by teaching, volunteering, role modeling or other community involvement.
The Governor’s Fitness Awards serve as a platform for inspirational individuals and organizations for their pursuit, commitment and dedication to healthy lifestyles. Each award recognizes the many different ways the winners are inspiring and influencing Michigan residents to live a healthy lifestyle.
The purpose of the Governor’s Fitness Awards event serves as a platform of appreciation and public recognition for these deserving citizens as well as a fundraiser for the Michigan Fitness Foundation.
It’s events like this that helps me reflect in my healthy choices and my commitment to fitness every day. Also seeing a couple of familiar faces and having others recognize us for our accomplishments is always such a great humbling experience.
So get smart about your food choices and commit to exercising each day and you too can lead healthy lifestyle.
Governor’s Fitness Awards
I am extremely honored that a Local North Carolina artist Vincent Wood painted me into a mural at the Aversboro Restaurant located in my home town of Garner, NC along with a couple of other NC celebrities. It is such a humbling feeling when my image and story has touched so many lives. Tonight this chair will be auctioned off and is a part of the Relay for Life Chairs For Hope. I hope people come out for the event and raise a substantial amount of money to go towards such a great cause.
The U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, today announced that 25 athletes have been selected to compete for the United States at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships, Aug. 11-17, in Montreal, Canada. The event is the first major swimming competition since the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I am very excited to share that I have been selected as part of the team and happy to be representing the US at this meet. Full article.
Last week (April 4-6), I got to compete in the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Springs Championships / Spring CanAm held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I competed in four events – 100 Meter Backstroke, 100 Meter Butterfly, 100 Meter Freestyle and the 50 Meter Freestyle. For this meet, I rested for seven days to give my body an opportunity to recover from the past 4 months of training. I was really pleased with my overall performance as I was right off my London times that put me on the podium 3 times. My training is going extremely well as I am much stronger due to me weight training. This was a good meet to test and gauge how to adjust me training and rest for The World Games this summer. Now it is back to training to get myself to the top of the podium.
Getting back into the competition mood is such a great feeling.
As I was preparing and packing for the Michigan Open, an abled-body swim meet, was a very humbling moment for me…. as I was looking at all of my competition e swim suits and thinking, the last I put one of these on, I was in the London where I brought home 3 medals. Although the London Games are over, training never ends.
For the past 4 months, I have been training extremely hard and working on new stroke techniques, so this meet was a great opportunity to see where I am in my fitness training as well as to play around with new stroke techniques. This is an important time to experiment now as the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Springs Championships / Spring CanAm is just two months away.
Given my training cycle and this part of the season, I went into this meet tired and broken down. I competed in 4 sessions making finals both days and set new American Records in the 50 Meter Freestyle and the 100 Meter Butterfly. This was the first time that I have swam a short course meet since 2009. So this was great as I am much stronger and older in the sport of racing. So back to training I go as I prepare for the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Springs Championships / Spring CanAm held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April.