Mallory Weggemann sits on the side of the pool before a race. (Photo: Joe Kusumoto)
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!
Mallory Weggemann Honors Friend
Three-time Paralympian and five-time medalist Mallory Weggemann is currently promoting her book “Limitless,” and she recently shared a social media post about a very special stop on the tour.
All ticket sale proceeds from her event in Alpharetta, Georgia, she said, were donated in honor of Grace Bunke, who lost her life to cancer at 14.
“In January of 2018 I had the honor of meeting Grace Bunke when our friends at Delta brought us together,” Weggemann wrote. “Throughout the day we laughed, shared our love for the water and even realized we shared a birthday. That day, Grace left a lasting impact on me, empowering me with her strength, courage and faith.
“Grace was so much more than her battle, at the young age of 14 she had the ability to connect with others through her infectious smile, all while simultaneously fighting osteosarcoma — she was simply amazing and the grace she displayed was contagious.”
Bunke’s family formed Team Amazing Grace and has been on its own tour, Swim Across America, to fund cancer research, clinical trials and patient programs.
Read more about Team Amazing Grace.
Wedding Bells In Herzog’s Future
Sophia Herzog’s getting hitched! The two-time Paralympian recently announced her engagement to boyfriend Nick Gibb, a retired Team USA Para-cyclist. She shared photos of the couple, smiling and wearing bike helmets while on a ride in the mountains of Colorado where they live, along with new bling.
Jamal Hill Featured
Paralympic bronze medalist Jamal Hill was featured in a Los Angeles Sentinel story in which he discussed living with the neurological condition Charcot-Marie-Tooth, his partnership with Speedo, his success in Tokyo and his goal to bring swimming to kids in low- to middle-income environments who might otherwise not get the opportunity.
“I have this dream, I have this vision, it’s bigger than me,” Hill told the paper. “I want to impact a lot of people, I want to have this platform to inspire.”
Aspden Receives Big Welcome From Hometown
Hannah Aspden is the first Queens University athlete to win gold at either the Olympics or Paralympics, and the university welcomed her home to Charlotte with a ceremony at the beginning of October. Aspden was set to receive a proclamation from the office of the Mayor of Charlotte, according to the story.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also hosted Aspden, eight other Olympians and Paralympians and their families with a ceremony on the grounds of the executive mansion in Raleigh.
“The purpose of this event was to recognize them for their outstanding achievement and let them know how proud we are of them here in North Carolina,” Cooper told local reporters. “I’ve grown up loving sports, loving to play sports and loving to watch sports, and to get to be among the best in your field like these athletes have done is a remarkable achievement.”
Minnesota Honors Paralympians
The Minnesota Twins'season is over, but before the last pitch they honored local Paralympians including Summer Schmit and Weggemann. Wrote Schmit, “Thank you so much to the @twins for celebrating Minnesota’s Paralympians at Target Field last night! It was an amazing experience.”
Coan Among Those Lobbying For Greater Inclusivity
Multi-time Paralympic medalist McKenzie Coan is among the athletes who recently spoke about the need for Paralympic athletes to compete alongside their able-bodied peers. In a feature story on NBC Sports, she said, “We are the same elite-level athletes. This isn’t playtime. Legitimacy within the public eye is what we’re missing at this point.”
From Tokyo Pool To Bio Lab
Makayla Nietzel made her Paralympic debut in Tokyo, and now she’s in pursuit of another goal. Nietzel is a member of Purdue’s class of 2025, and she recently shared some photos of what life is like these day, writing, “College life has been a difficult adjustment, but I’ve made it and it got a lot easier after the first few weeks. Here are just some random pictures of college life. I apologize for the lack of content, I needed to get into the swing of things here and I also just finished my first round of exams Hopefully more posts coming soon ~”