The U.S. Paralympics Swimming Insider For April 5, 2021
by Todd Kortemeier
Sophia Herzog competes for Team USA. (Photo: Randy Richardson)
Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para swimming. Here’s what you missed!
Social Media Roundup
Sophia Herzog was a guest on the “Flamebearers” podcast. The podcast is dedicated to featuring female Olympians and Paralympians, plus Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, on their journeys to Tokyo as well as causes near and dear to them.
“I loved this podcast because it shows who I am as a whole person, which is not something that media usually portrays,” Herzog wrote.“I'm an athlete, a little person a partner, dog mom and so much more. Swimming is my job and something I love, but I'm passionate about so many other things as well.”
Herzog discussed those passions and more on the show, from her childhood to how she’s training for the postponed Paralympic Games.
“I was benched my whole eighth grade year of basketball solely because of my height,” Herzog said on the show. “Hopefully it paved the way in case another disabled person goes through that school district because every boy and girl deserves the opportunity to play. That’s when you figure out what you love.”
Other U.S. Olympians and Paralympians and hopefuls have been featured on the show in the past, including rugby sevens player Naya Tapper back in February.
Mallory Weggemann knows a thing or two about comebacks. And getting back on the starting block Mar. 27 for the first time in more than a year felt familiar but also very different to the Paralympic gold medalist. But what wasn’t different was how she performed.
“My routine was different — my loved ones watched via a live stream and the environment had changed, but as I raced my way to two American records I was reminded yet again, it isn’t the circumstances we face the define us, but how we choose to respond,” Weggemann wrote.
“I am not fighting for a comeback, I am fighting to become what I have never been before. Those two American records are my reminder that despite what many would consider a career ending injury, despite a changed body and unforeseen circumstances we all have the power to unleash our limitless potential within. Or, as some of my dearest supporters would say — keep climbing.”
Team USA athletes have more ways than ever to connect with fans through the power of social media, and another emerging way to connect is Twitch, which is something Tye Dutcher has fun on @tyejosephgg. Fans can tune in to see the Paralympian playing video games, dancing and more. A link to Dutcher’s Twitch stream is available in the bio of his Instagram account.
In the News
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has announced its 2021 grant recipients, $5.1 million of support awarded to 3,038 Para athletes. The grant money goes to support athletes as they train and compete, helping them afford equipment, coaching, travel and more. The CAF reports that more than half of Team USA’s 2020 Paralympic hopefuls have received grants in the past, including Brenna Huckaby, Oksana Masters and Andy Soule. The organization awards grants in 94 different sports and activities.
But the assistance isn’t just for Paralympic-level athletes. CAF’s 2021 grant recipients range in age from 2 to 76. And 38 percent of them are receiving a grant for the first time. Nine-year-old Para swimmer and wheelchair racer Kadynce Long from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was one of this year’s recipients. Her assistance will go to funding a custom racing chair.
The Olympic Channel revisited Jessica Long’s incredible life story. … Prescott Valley, Arizona, native Ellie Marks was featured by the Navajo-Hopi Observer, talking about her military and Paralympic career. … The International Paralympic Committee reports that 62% of quota spots for this summer’s Paralympic Games have already been secured, and 94% of those in sitting volleyball and swimming. Under 150 days remain until the Opening Ceremony of the Games.