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The U.S. Paralympics Swimming Insider For November 12, 2020

By Todd Kortemeier | Nov. 12, 2020, 12:23 p.m. (ET)

Tye Dutcher celebrates in Men´s 100 m Backstroke S10 during day 1 of the Para Swimming World Championship Mexico City 2017 at Francisco Marquez Olympic Swimming Pool. on December 2, 2017.


Social Media Roundup

The eyes of all Americans last week were on the presidential election, and it was no different for U.S. Para swimmers. Jessica Long proudly showed off her “I Voted” sticker. Becca Meyers and Tye Dutcher waved the American flag while sharing a patriotic message.

“Whatever outcome of the election, I’m proud to be an American and represent this country,” Dutcher wrote. “I hope you guys did your part and went out to #vote.”


Almost as much fun as participating in democracy is dressing up for Halloween, and a couple U.S. Para swimmers showed off their costumes. In Paralympian Tom Miazga’s case, it was dressing up as one of the members of the Average Joe’s team from the movie “Dodgeball.” But Miazga was doing something a bit more athletic than dodgeball, showing a personal-best 415-pound deadlift at his gym.

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can PR your deadlift!” Miazga wrote.

In the case of three-time Paralympic gold medalist Becca Meyers, she dressed up as a scientist while her dog Birdy played the role of a vaccine.


Tokyo hopeful Haven Shepherd was featured on the Instagram account of World Para Swimming, which reshared her post about trying swim fins for the first time in seven years.

“When I was 10, I tried these swim fins and they wouldn’t stay on my legs because the part of my legs that I still have were too little,” Shepherd wrote. “I tried to do the kick sets at swim practice but I just wouldn’t go anywhere. I would kick and kick and kick but wouldn’t move an inch. Come to find out...you NEED feet on the end of your legs to propel you forward!!”


Also recently featured on World Para Swimming’s account was national team member Anastasia Pagonis, who has been posting on TikTok about how visually impaired swimmers are able to compete. Pagonis’ video shows in part how she gets a tap on the head when she is approaching each end wall, and how she uses the lane marker to stay in a straight line.


The ongoing coronavirus pandemic doesn’t mean that fashion has to go out the window. That’s certainly the case for swimmers Sophia Herzog and Lizzi Smith, who each showed off masks that matched their swimsuits.

“If you don’t call this fashion of 2020, I don’t know what is then,” Herzog wrote. “Matching masks w/ suits!”


In the News

In news that should benefit all U.S. Paralympic sports, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced on Oct. 26 the hiring of Nitra Rucker as director of diversity, equity and inclusion. In this role, Rucker will lead the USOPC’s diversity and inclusion efforts both internally with its workforce and externally across the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. … 2012 swimming Paralympian Ileana Rodriguez will be leading the team to select a six-person Paralympic Refugee Team to compete at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The 2016 Paralympic Games featured a refugee and asylee team competing as Independent Paralympic Athletes, but next year’s team will be the first dedicated refugee team in Paralympic history. … Thirteen-time Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Long was interviewed for Allure magazine, sharing everything from skin care tips to her workout regimen to coping with the postponement of the Paralympic Games. … After successfully staging an international gymnastics meet on Nov. 8, the Tokyo 2020 commission is optimistic about hosting Olympic and Paralympic testing events as soon as March. The test event of Para swimming was one of the events impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Any events would be subject to rigid protocols such as the ones that affected the gymnastics meet, which included limited attendance, a two-week quarantine for every athlete upon arriving to Japan and restricted movement of each athlete between the venue and hotel. The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which will host Olympic and Paralympic swimming officially opened last month.

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to USParaSwimming.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.