As the daughter of a JAG army officer, I grew up in Texas, Virginia, Heidelberg and Berlin in Germany, Maryland, and Gainesville, Florida. My childhood revolved around academics, sport, and art. I got involved in sport for two reasons: my parents required that my brothers and I played a sport seriously at some point to instill a focus on maintaining physical health (and maybe just to get us out of the house?). And because it was clear to me (and the neighborhood) that I needed an outlet for my desire to race. At the age of 7, there were three options to choose from: softball, soccer, and swimming. Swimming was the only option for racing and it felt like a natural fit. After a few years of swimming, I started winning races more regularly as a part of the European Forces Swim League, the UMBC Retrievers Swim Club in Maryland, and the Florida Aquatics Swim Team. 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. At that point, I devoted as much time as possible to the sport. By the time I retired, I was known in the swimming world for strong finishes to races and winning by "touching people out," setting a world-record that stood unbroken for 14 years by winning a race against a doping athlete in a controversial world championship competition in Spain at the age of 16, winning 13 national titles, for winning a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games, and for pioneering the use of the back-to-breast transition medley turn that is still used today.
I have always been interested in fairness. At one middle school I attended in Maryland, I devoted recesses looking for opportunities to stand up for kids being bullied. I wrote a report about doping in sport in the 6th grade. I'm also passionate about Olympic anti-doping reform and bettered child abuse protections for sport (many people forget to consider the many children who are doped in sport without their consent). My coach definitely left a negative impact, but thankfully I was not a victim of sexual abuse that is or has been unacceptably prevalent in the sport of swimming (and gymnastics and others).
I'm also passionate about the betterment of healthcare, carbon reduction efforts, preservation of wildlife and natural environments, and technologies providing increased privacy protections for individuals.
I'm a member of the Committee to Restore Integrity in Sport, Team Darfur (raising awareness about genocide in Sudan), and a founding member of Art of the Olympians (an organization promoting the Olympic Ideals - integrity, respect, honor, and dedication in the pursuit of excellence - through educational programs).
I currently work for a woman-operated company promoting breastfeeding. I'm an artist and offer sessions at the spirit repair shop on occasion too. I occasionally coach and I'm working on ways to disseminate information on joint and spinal alignment in movement for life and various sports, including swimming. If you're interested in keeping posted, please sign up for my newsletter.