Kara Sheridan,24, was thinking about retiring from adaptive swimming competitions ever since she moved to Miami, Florida. She didn’t seem to mesh with any of the four swimming teams since her move from Ohio. “The coaches kept telling me to do whatever I can do and then would turn their attention towards the other swimmers, the able bodied swimmers.”
Luckily, Kara’s persistent personality paid off. Kara, a University of Miami graduate student, made the cut last weekend at the Paralymic tryouts in Minnesota. She will join 24 other athletes with physical disabilities at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado from May 30th until August 22nd.
She will have a three day reprieve to spend time with her family before continuing her journey that eventually ends at Athens, Greece on September 11. The actual Opening Day is September 17.
Kara will be competing in the 100 Meter Breast Stroke.
Her winning time was 2:34.36, almost five seconds shy of the qualifying time, 2:40.
Kara started swimming when she was 6 months old but she didn’t learn the strokes until high school. This is the first time that she has been selected for an international competition. Her team mates range from a 14 year old teenager to a 40 year old woman with a visual impairement. She is nervous and excited at the prospect of winning.
However, Kara is no stranger to winning. For the past five years, she has held the World record for the 200 meter breast stroke and one year for the American record for the 100 meter breast stroke.
Tanya McAdory, her swim coach, has been her mentor and long distance coach. According to Kara, McAdory has been a friend first and then a coach. If Kara has had a bad day, her coach will listen like a friend before training her like a coach.
Audacity wishes Kara and all of the Paralympics the best of luck. Bring back the Gold!
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* Special note: Kara’s shirt in the first picture comes from her sponsor at www.challengedathletes.org. There are a few helpful links on the right hand side of this page.