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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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7118-Mallory Weggemann photo

Mallory Weggemann

Swimming
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1
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Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
S7, SB6, SM7

Further personal information

Family
Husband Jeremy Snyder
Residence
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Occupation
Journalist, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English
Higher education
Marketing, Public Relations - University of Minnesota: Minneapolis, MN, USA

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age seven. She took up Para swimming at age 18, just three months after she sustained her impairment.
Why this sport?
In April 2008 one of her sisters took her to the University of Minnesota to watch the US trials for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. She was inspired to get back into swimming by the athletes she saw there. She then went to her campus swimming pool and connected with a coach. "Within 48 hours [after the trials] I was back on the pool deck and returning to the water for the first time since my paralysis. I learned to adapt faster in the pool than on land. Swimming was as second nature as walking used to be."
Club / Team
Training HAUS: United States
Name of coach
Steve Van Dyne [personal]

International debut

Year
2009
Competing for
United States
Location
Rio de Janeiro, BRA

General interest

Hobbies
Spending time with her husband, watching American football. (FINIS, Inc. YouTube channel, 26 Mar 2019)
Injuries
In June 2017 she underwent surgery to remove two muscles and a rib in her upper chest. Another muscle was removed in a second operation in December 2018. (olympics.nbcsports.com, 19 Dec 2018)

She suffered an arm injury in March 2014 after falling from a bench onto a shower floor. The injury stopped her from competing at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Pasadena, CA, United States of America. She returned to training in 2015 but the injury got worse after the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and she was out of action until September 2017. (olympics.nbcsports.com, 19 Dec 2018; swimmingworldmagazine.com, 18 Dec 2015; swimswam.com, 29 Jul 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Each day, we have the ability to be brave, to be courageous, to rise above and to continue to redefine our limitations. Where I believe bravery steps in, is when we decide that regardless of what our disability may be, we are not going to let it stop us from living, from aspiring to achieve our goals and from continuing to push ourselves one step further. In fact, that is the most courageous act of bravery there is, not allowing circumstance to define us and not allowing fear to hold us back." (swimswam.com, 05 Nov 2014)
Awards and honours
In 2011 she won the ESPY award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability from sports broadcaster ESPN. (CNN, 12 Aug 2011)

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 she was named Disabled Athlete of the Year by USA Swimming. (teamusa.org, 2013)

She was named the Female Disabled Swimmer of the Year of 2009 and 2010 by Swimming World Magazine. (teamusa.org, 2013)
Impairment
In January 2008 she received a series of epidural injections in her back to treat shingles. After the third injection she lost movement from the waist down. "I competed in high school [swimming] all four years, swam varsity and was captain senior year. After high school graduation is when my journey with the sport kind of took a shift following my paralysis. Getting into the water with a different body and dealing with learning how to balance my body from a buoyancy standpoint in the water, but then also propel myself without that kick that I relied on for so long, it was different, challenging, frustrating, but at the same time it was also liberating. For me a lot of my healing took place in the water." (NowThis Her YouTube channel, 25 Jul 2019; startribune.com, 12 Nov 2009)
Other information
ENFORCED BREAK
She injured her arm in March 2014, and then experienced complications with the problem during the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. After one race finished her arm was blue and had no blood circulation. It led to a break from competitive swimming until September 2017, a period where she was also unable to drive. "One thing that I've constantly held onto is, as a Paralympic athlete, we're all in this sport because we've had to adapt. I mean, every single athlete in the Paralympic movement has what I'd call the war story. We've all had things happen in our lives, whether we were born with things or whether we acquired things later on. We all had circumstance. For me, that helped give me some sanity in a really, really difficult time. I just had to understand that, as my body changed, it heightened my paralysis, too. I was used to being paralysed with two strong arms. When I didn't have two strong arms anymore, my paralysis seemed worse to me. I have had a million reasons to give up, and I have had one reason to keep going, and that purely because I love to swim." (Twin Cities Ortophedics YouTube channel, 24 Jul 2019; olympics.nbcsports.com, 19 Dec 2018)

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
In 2019 she became chief executive officer of The Factory Agency, a production studio that specialises in supporting brands and content within the Paralympic movement and adaptive sports. She began working as a speaker and writer at the agency in 2011. "I think representation is a huge part of how we find our path forward. It's really hard to become what you can't see. Impairment is often not talked about. It's not something we bring up. It's not something you see in the mainstream media. When you tie women and the individual's impairment conversation together, it elevates that importance." (NowThis Her YouTube channel, 25 Jul 2019; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2019)

JOURNALIST
She was a part of SwimSwam.com's broadcast team during the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Pasadena, CA, United States of America. She interviewed athletes and coaches, and presented recaps of the competition. In 2014 she also had articles published by US newspaper, The Huffington Post. (swimswam.com, 29 Jul 2014; huffingtonpost.com, 18 Nov 2014)

CLASSIFICATION CHANGE
Days before she was due to compete in nine events in the S7 category at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, she was reclassified in the S8 category which limited her to seven events. She protested, saying her complete paraplegia should keep her from competing against bi-lateral below the knee double amputees that have full function from the knee up. However, the reclassification was upheld, and she managed to win gold in the 50m freestyle. (insidethegames.biz, 01 Nov 2013; theatlanticwire.com, 05 Sep 2012; bbc.co.uk, 30 Aug 2012)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S7 Heat 2 1
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Heat 1 3
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 1
Women's 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Heat 1 2
Women's 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Final Round 4
Women's 4x50 m Medley 20pts Heat 1 4
Women's 50 m Butterfly S7 Heat 2 1
Women's 50 m Butterfly S7 Final Round 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S7 Heat 2 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S7 Final Round 1
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 1
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Heat 2 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S7 Final Round 2
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 1 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final Round 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S7 Heat 2 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S7 Final Round 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM7 Heat 1 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM7 Final Round 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S7 Heat 2 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S7 Final Round 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB7 Final Round 2012-09-01 6
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB7 Heat 1 2012-09-01 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S8 Heat 3 2012-09-02 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S8 Final Round 2012-09-02 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S8 Heat 1 2012-09-04 4
Women's 100 m Backstroke S8 Final Round 2012-09-04 7
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM8 Final Round 2012-09-05 6
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM8 Heat 2 2012-09-05 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S8 Heat 1 2012-09-06 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S8 Final Round 2012-09-06 4
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 2012-09-07 3
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S8 Heat 1 2016-09-08 6
Women's 100 m Butterfly S8 Final Round 2016-09-09 7
Women's 100 m Butterfly S8 Heat 1 2016-09-09 4
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB7 Heat 2 2016-09-10 4
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB7 Final Round 2016-09-10 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S8 Heat 1 2016-09-11 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S8 Final Round 2016-09-11 8
Women's 100 m Backstroke S8 Heat 2 2016-09-13 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S8 Heat 2 2016-09-16 6
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM8 Final Round 2016-09-17 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM8 Heat 1 2016-09-17 3