Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Rebecca Meyers reflects on Rio 2016 performance

The US swimmer won three golds and one silver at Latin America’s first Paralympic Games. 31 Oct 2016
Upper body of a woman, raising her arms in the air
The USA's Rebecca Meyers celebrates her gold medal in the women's 200m individual medley SM13 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
ⒸWagner Meier

“I am still in shock for what I did in Rio"

US swimmer Rebecca Meyers has said that her three golds and one silver medal from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games were a “shock” and that she exceeded her expectations by breaking two world records.

The 21-year-old had already shown what she was capable of at last year’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, when she sealed two golds and one silver.

“I am still in shock for what I did in Rio,” she said.

“I was training to win one gold and hoped that I would podium in my other events. All of my hard work paid off and it was a dream come true!”

In the lead-up to the Rio Games, Meyers knew she had to be in her best possible shape if she wanted to achieve her goals.

“I focused on gaining speed, proper nutrition, getting enough sleep, and recovering properly. I got all best times in my events. It all paid off!” she said.

Her maiden Paralympic title came in the 100m butterfly S13, on the second day of competition.

“I was so excited to win my first-ever Paralympic gold medal and setting a world record in that event was a bonus!” she said.

“My favorite memory of winning that event was receiving the medal on the podium and being able to hold it close to my ear and shake it! I was in awe to hear the noise it made. That was the best moment of the Games for me.”

Meyers admits competing at London 2012 was fundamental to her gaining experience and maturing as an athlete.

“The biggest lesson I learned in London is that anything is possible on race day. For example, I was seeded sixth in the 100m freestyle S13 and walked away with a bronze medal!” she explained.

“It all comes down to the final race. I also learned that it is just another swim meet. I try to zone out the crowd and just race because I love to race.”

Meyers does not hesitate when asked what her favourite three things from Rio 2016 were.

“The unique feature of the medals for the blind and visually impaired athletes; shaking the medal to hear the different sounds each medal had,” she said.

“Also being able to represent the USA at the Paralympic Games and that I got to meet so many athletes from so many countries. I became friends with a lot of the girls from my swimming classification.”

Looking ahead to the next events, Meyers will take part in the 2017 World Para swimming Championships in Mexico City, from 30 September-7 October, and is hoping to enjoy another Paralympic experience in Tokyo, Japan, in four-years-time.

“I am going to train very hard over the next four years and see what happens, but that is the goal!” she said.