I had the great opportunity of going to Fort Wayne Indiana. It was one of the shortest flights I have ever taken in my life. With the tail wind it was a total of 28 minutes. Landing into the snow and arctic tundra of Indiana, I was greeted by the CEO, Nancy Louraine. Nancy is the CEO of a facility by the name of Turnstone Center. This state of the art facility has raised 15 Million dollars for a field house expansion, to accommodate disabled athletes in multiple sporting events. Turnstone’s mission is deep down in the community where 70 percent of it’s donations come fro it’s local community. With Nancy’s help and Turnstone’s faculty, they have been able to assist the community with countless services for disabled people from all around. I was so lucky to be brought in on such a great evening of appreciation in thanking all of the generous people that have donated at multiple capacities,for their support in making Turnstones mission come true. I can’t wait to come back in the summer for the gran opening of their new facility and see just how great their community has made this facility and dream come alive.
It was such a great evening at the 3rd Annual DeVry Gold Outing. I was flown out to Chicago to be a part of this great event. I rode around the golf course during the tournament and met with all of the executives associated with DeVry University. Meeting with the people that really make my education experience finically and logistically happen was am appreciative feeling. I then was the keynote speaker as one of the DeVry University student athletes. I got to talk about my journey and how the partnership with the United States Olympic Committee and DeVry University all have made me able to swim and still finish school and swim to my goals. The flexibility of the online classes help me have the ability to take a class anywhere anytime in the world. It was a great night, event, and I can’t wait for more opportunities with DeVry University as a student athlete.
What a hot week in Pasadena California. We got in to California on August 2nd. The first couple of days we were able to swim and get use to the pool just with a couple of training days. We started to compete on Wednesday. Since there were;’t a lot of S12 swimmers i had to opportunity to swim up to the next class. I was competing against the S13 class and they have more vision then I do. This was an opportunity that I would be able to race in a class that I could race and not just race against myself and the clock. With swimming up a class i was able to grab 3 silver medals. I was swimming right at my best times and with the heat and sunshine all day I will take that and I am completely satisfied. I also got an amazing chance to swim on two blind relays. It isn’t very often that the USA team gets to put together a really with blind swimmers.We were the only country that had a full blind relay. This meant that we wouldn’t win a medal, but we were after two records. In both relays we were able to break the American and Pan-American Record in both relays. This in its self is such a huge accomplishments, because who knows when the United States will be able to put together a relay that can swim this fast as the one we put together. After I finished swimming I was able to have a day to myself to hangout with some friends I have in LA and then back to the motor city I went.
It was so amazing to be able to get back to North Carolina this past week. I brought great weather with me from Michigan. This was the last push of training before we get to rest for the Pan-Pacific Championships in 3 weeks. With that being said I still had to train every day. I got to really experience so many amazing events while I was home. I got to go to a restaurant in Garner and see the great painting of all of the local celebrities from Garner. It is such an honor to be a part of such a great piece of artwork. After enjoying a great meal, the owner of the restaurant asked if I would sign my portrait. I got to be introduced to the whole restaurant and signed the wall. This was such an honor and I enjoyed every second of it. The following day I got to meet a very special person. I was able to meet a young man named Connor. Last year Connor wrote a story about me, and my swimming career for his 4th grade writing class. His mother told me I was the “hit of the class.” Connor’s mom and my mom are friends and set a lunch where I could meet this stunning young friend. He had just come from soccer practice and it was such a great afternoon to share stories and hear what a 5th graders summer was consisted of. I wish him the best of luck in his soccer career and I can’t wait to hear updates on how great he is doing. It was great to see friends and family and just get a quick dose of the amazing southern hospitality before I head out to California for this summer’s big swimming event. I can’t wait to go back to see everyone for the holidays this upcoming fall. It is back to the pool to start resting and sharpening everything up for fast racing in three weeks.
Last weekend I got to ride down from Detroit to Cincinnati for the annual trip for my national team requirements. It was a short and quick trip. I always enjoy this meet to see that new up and coming swimmers. The meet always falls right in the middle of my heavy training cycle. It isn’t a meet that I have to swim fast for, but it is a great opportunity to race and feel broken down. The meet is always ran well and the best opportunity for younger up and comers to get to see just how great Paralympics is and hook them into participating in future events.
I finally landed back into the United States yesterday evening. Trying to gorse myself to stay awake and fight the jet lag, I laid down at a late time of 8pm to fall asleep. I woke up and took a deep breathe to reflect on what just happened the past 2 weeks of my life. Both Countries did such a great job hosting Team USA with transportation, food, and all around success. I planned on these two meets as being the key focus of my spring season. This showed in all of the accomplishments I was able to collect. After the trip was over I was able to walk away with:
1 World Record
4 American Records
4 Pan-American Records
3 Time Power Point Champion
6 Lifetime Best Swims
These 2 meets for me stand out from the aspect that I have been trying to perfect different race strategies and stroke technique changes as well. I really am happy with the direction my training is going and how I was able to sustain 2 weeks of fast racing. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and helped me be able to get to this part of my athletic career.
It is a honor to announce that I was named to the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Team. It was a great trip to Miami a couple of weeks ago to be able to swim fast enough to race my way on to the team. It is a true honor to be able to put on the Team USA uniform and compete against the world. It is always a honor to be able to not only represent my country, but being able to represent the people with disabilities. Paralympics has given me a platform to be able to travel the world and show everyone what you can do when faced with adversity. I am more then happy to be able to do this and with the great support system I have behind me. I couldn’t make it happen with out everyone that has helped me get to where I am today.
I leave for the British and German Open in 5 days! Stay tuned to see how it goes and make sure to follow me on twitter for updates.
It was very fun to leave Detroit and fly down to Miami, Florida. The Michigan weather was starting to make my southern blood get infused with ice. The trip down to Florida was a great way to swim and taw out the blood. I wasn’t fully rested so I could save that for the two meets I am going to be swimming in Scotland and Berlin. It was still a great opportunity to race and feel good swimming outside. I only competed in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke as well. Swimming backstroke in the prelims was tough from the fact that the sun was in the little vision that I have making it hard to see. I won all three events and got to race in a great pool and catch up with some great people as well. All in all it was a great week away from Michigan and soaking up some sunshine.
Last night I had the great opportunity to attend the Rehabilitation Institute Of Michigan Foundation Gala. I was one of 5 Recipients of the Nicholas John Yaksich Scholarship. It was such a stellar night at the Fox Theatre in Downtown Detroit. There were so many great awards presented to so many courageous people and It was a true honor to be amongst their company. It is such a great Gala for the fact that it is a chase for people to donate money to the RIM foundation that helps people around the community with coping with their disabilities and their everyday lives.
Making the decision to go back to school after the London games was something I didn’t know how I was going to balance training and making good grades. I got the great opportunity to use the partnership with the USOC and DeVry University. I have been really pleased with how great the online program works out with my traveling and swimming. It has such great flexibility and if there is Wi-Fi I am good to go. I am very excited to write about how I just got notification of making the Dean’s list this past semester. I had a 4.0 grade point average. I am heading in this same direction this semester as well. It is so nice to be back in school with a focus as a Communications major and a minor in emerging technology. Now I can travel the world and finish school in the process.