I grew up in Texas, Virginia, Heidelberg and Berlin, 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. I used to regularly stand on a street corner while living in Virginia challenging random kids to foot races. At the age of 7, there were three options to choose from: softball, soccer, and swimming. On the first day of swim lessons, I advanced through all levels of instruction offered in the same hour, so it was clear that swimming was the best choice. After a few years, 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 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 the sport while also being enrolled in the demanding curriculum of the International Baccalaureate educational program. By the time I retired, I was known in the swimming world for strong finishes to races and winning by "touching people out," my work ethic, setting a world-record that stood unbroken for 14 years by winning a race against a doping athlete, winning 13 national titles, winning a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games, and for pioneering the use of a new back-to-breast transition medley turn that is still used today.
I have always been interested in fairness, especially after living in divided Berlin in the late '80s and seeing the stark contrast of communist East Germany shore up directly next to allied-occupied West Berlin. At one middle school I attended in Maryland, I raced to the rescue of kids being bullied on the playground during lunch recess regularly. I wrote a report about doping in sport in the 6th grade after seeing and competing against East German athletes as a child. Now, I'm interested in doing what I can to protect young athletes from experiencing injustices. I share my experiences and opinions on doping in Olympic sport and I'm a member of Champion Women's Committee to Restore Integrity in Sport focused on the prevention of abuse in sport.
I work for a women-founded and operated business promoting breastfeeding through the sale of hands-free breastpumping bras. Check 'em out at Simple Wishes. I'm also passionate about art, the betterment of healthcare, carbon dioxide reduction efforts, preservation of wildlife and natural environments, and security and privacy-focused technologies. I'm a member of the team at Global Gene Corp (aiming to diversify the world's bank of genetic data for more targeted healthcare solutions), former member of 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.