By Camille Estrin || Contributing Writer
Franklin & Marshall’s Rebecca Meyers has been swimming in the Rio 2016 Paralympics, which began on September 7, and concluded on September 18. Meyers has already accomplished a great deal, earning a total of four medals out of the five events she competed in: three gold and one silver.
Meyers was born deaf and was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes progressive loss of hearing and vision. According to an article in the DailyNews, talking about her vision she says, “My vision means it is like looking through two straws.” Due to this she swims in the S13 and SM13 events, signifying the level of her disability. To honor her accomplishments, in 2015 Meyers received an ESPY award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
Prior to coming to these games, Meyers held world records in seven events. According to Team USA she holds records in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle, the 50-meter fly, and the 200 and 400 individual medley.
Not only has Meyers earned four medals in Rio, but has also set several world and Paralympic records in the process. In the S13 women’s 100-meter butterfly, and the Women’s S13 400-meter freestyle, not only did Meyers beat her personal records, but also set world records of 1:03.25 and 4:19.59 respectively. She shaved two seconds off of her own personal record set last year, in the 400-meter butterfly, and nine seconds off of the Paralympic record set by Canadian swimmer Valarie Grand-Mason in the 2008 Paralympics.
She earned an additional gold medal in the women’s SM13 200-meter Individual Medley. In her fourth event, she swam the women’s S13 50-meter freestyle event, and came in sixth place. And on Friday, September 16, Meyers had an epic conclusion to the Paralympic Games taking home the silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle.
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun in which she discussed her performance in the SM13 200-meter women’s individual medley, Meyers said: “A lot of hard work went into that race, so I’m really pleased with the outcome.”
According to DailyMail, when Meyers was in 7th grade she wrote a poem expressing her desire to compete in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, and is now she is carrying out this dream with extraordinary success. The Baltimore Sun reported that one of Meyer’s biggest inspirations was Terrence Parkin, a deaf swimmer and silver medalist who competed in the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Meyers first stunned the world when she competed in the 2012 Paralympics. She won silver in the 200 Individual Medley, bronze in the 100 freestyle, and placed fifth in the 100 butterfly.
As the Paralympics come to a close, and the F&M swim season officially begins, the Franklin & Marshall community beams with pride for fellow Diplomat and swimming champion Rebecca Meyers and all of her unbelievable success in Rio.
First-year Camille Estrin is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of USA Swimming.