Preparing to win gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is going to take all that I’ve got, each and every day. I’m currently training six days a week, anywhere from 2-4 hours per day. I am fully committed and dedicated to outworking my competition in order to stand atop the podium in Rio with a gold medal around my neck and the Star Spangled Banner blaring from the speakers.
However, the road to gold is not a journey I can take alone. I need your support. Costs for training facilities, pool time, equipment, nutrition, housing and competition travel can add up to more than $40,000 per year. It is always a true honor to be able to represent my country, and I am so thankful that you want to help.
Donate today and help me chase my dreams of gold in 2016.
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.
Seeing all of the commercials for this year’s winter Olympics in Sochi Russia, really makes me think of 2012. How hard I had to work the 4 years leading up to the games, moving from Colorado to Michigan, and just going to the games and unleashing the fury. I am so excited to see the USA show what they all have worked so hard for the past 4 years and put on a great show for the whole world to see. Shout out to all of the 2014 team USA, as you get ready for the fun to unravel this weekend. Let’s go get the most hardware that we can.
Training is going great right now. I am really trying to get the body up and ready for a very jammed packed year of fast racing and travelling. In the next 4 months I will be in Miami Florida, Glasgow Scotland, Berlin Germany, Cincinnati Ohio, and that is just leading into the summer. At this point of my season it is just pushing my body to the limit. That way when I am living out of a suitcase for 4 months, my body is ready to race fast and enjoy doing it. Hopefully when I get to December, I will be able to look at the base I have put down this whole year and be ready to set up a great next 2 years going into 2015.
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.
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.
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today that 16 athletes, including eight gold medalists from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, have been named to the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National A Team. Read the entire article: 2013 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Team named.
What better way to start off the 2013 year then a 5K run at 9am on January 1st? It was a very entertaining thought that “not many 23 year old people were waking up to a run after bringing in the New Year the night before.” However, that didn’t stop the 300 people from running in the cold, wet weather in downtown Raleigh, NC in the Commitment Day Run. I had a great time and surprised myself with a great finishing time. So, I would like to challenge all of you to commit to living healthier and exercise for the coming year. You’ll feel good, and inspire someone else to make a positive change. So hopefully this will be a good start to a great year of training and bringing in the New Year!
Wow what a great year. So many great things have happened this year and boy was I glad that the Mayas were wrong about the end of the world as I still have much to accomplish.
In looking back at 2012, here are a couple of highlights:
Huge move from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado to Michigan to get ready for Paralympic trials in North Dakota and the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Being a featured athlete as part of the special Olympic Edition of the Topps trading cards.
Being named to the 2012 Paralympic team to represent the USA in London.
Really enjoyed Germany and their hospitality as they served as the USA team host prior to arriving at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Had a rough start at the 2012 Games with a 5th and 4th place finish in the 400 Meter Freestyle and the 100 Meter Butter fly. I was extremely happy it wasn’t a repeat of the 2008 Beijing Games. Then when I got my first Paralympic medal, a Bronze in the 100 Meter Freestyle, a Silver medal in the 100 Meter Backstroke and a Bronze medal in the 50 Meter Freestyle.
Following the Paralympic Games, I had the great privilege to backpack through 9 different countries in 20 days with my best friend Anthony Gambino.
Traveled to Nebraska to speak and raise money to help build a gym for small town of Broken Bow. Also, great husker hospitality.
I had the great opportunity and honor to participate in the 86th Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit, MI. It was really cool to have the support of Michigan there to see the “hardware” I earned in London.
And to close out the year I had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family.
I am so grateful for everyone who helped me get to where I needed to be when I needed to be there. I’d like to thank AmbuTech for their continued support and generous donation and to TYR Sports for supplying me with all of my competition swim suits. I would like to thank my coach, Shawn Kornoelje and Cheryl Angelelli for all their support and guidance. I couldn’t have made all of my dreams come true without the help of Ken Bland for who took care of business and handling EVERY logistical item in my life for the past 4 years to make my every step possible. I am very fortunate to be able to look at my career and have such a great backing and FINALLY have hardware to show for it.
We all have so much to be grateful for and I hope that everyone had a great 2012 and here’s looking forward to a great 2013. Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement.
It was an honor to particiate in the America’s Thanksgiving Parade, an 86 Year Tradition, celebrating 86 years of marching, smiles, clowns and bringing families together in Detroit!
It was awesome to get to reconnect with fellow Olympic and Paralympic athletes and was spoiled by the VIP treatment. It was a beautiful day starting off kind of cold then heating up into the high 50’s. All of the time and effort that goes into putting on a parade was all shared by the half of a million people that came downtown to see all of the floats, balloons and bands. Even though I ended up on the wrong float and was interviewed as Ryan Dupree all in all it was fun to wave to the crowds with 3 medals that I earned with hard work and the support of family and friends. Thanks to everyone and if you were downtown.