Hi and thanks for stopping by! Most people know me as an Olympic Silver Medalist and former world champion in the sport of swimming. Here’s a little bit about that journey:
I grew up in Texas, Virginia, Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany, Maryland, and Gainesville, Florida as the daughter of a JAG Corps army officer (father) and a spunky teacher and artist (mother). My childhood revolved around academics, sport, and art. My involvement in swimming began because my parents required that my brothers and I played a sport seriously at some point to instill a focus on maintaining physical health. At the age of 7, there were three options to choose from for sport participation: softball, soccer, and swimming. I took to swimming more naturally and I loved to race. After a few years, I started winning races more regularly as a part of the European Forces Swim League representing the Heidelberg Sea Lions and the Berlin Barracudas. Back stateside, I continued on as a member of the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers and the Florida Aquatics Swim Team in Gainesville, Florida. In Maryland, I started being able to out-swim not only the girls my age, but the boys as well. I began to train with older guys which was a wonderful experience. I have a lot of great memories of protective older brother “types,” intense practice sessions, pranks, and a lot of laughter. At the age of 14 at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials, I jumped from being tied for 71st place in the country in the 200 meter breastroke to placing 5th in the final race of the competition. At that point, I realized that the Olympic dream may actually be possible for me. I devoted as much time as possible to training while also being enrolled in the demanding curriculum of the International Baccalaureate educational program. In high school, I was known as the athlete who was always eating during class or grabbing a nap in an empty classroom during the lunch break. Amongst my teammates in training for the Atlanta Olympic Games, I was known for unusual “dryland” training methods, winning races by "touching people out," an intense work ethic, one of the few team members Olympian Anthony Nesty would welcome to train in his lane, for pioneering the use of a new back-to-breast transition medley turn, and for setting a world record while winning a World Championship race against a doping athlete. There is also a wikipedia entry here about my time as a swimmer.
I'm proud to be a founding member of Art of the Olympians, an organization promoting the Olympic ideals through sport and art educational programs, a member of the Global Gene Corp team aiming to diversify the world's bank of genetic data, and a former member of Team Darfur which raised awareness about genocide in Sudan. I’m passionate about human rights, the betterment of healthcare and education, climate preservation and rehabilitation efforts, privacy and security-oriented technologies, and Olympic anti-doping reform.
Say hi if you’d like and have a great 2019!
Image credits - Black and white, warming up for a competition: USA Swimming. On the Atlanta 1996 Olympic podium: Doug Mills/Associated Press.