March 3, 2016
Elizabeth Wasil gets disoriented when she swims, so when she was first helped out of the pool at the Jimi Flowers Classic meet in January in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she had no idea what all the yelling was about.
“I don’t know where I am when I’m done swimming and my teammate, Reilly Boyt, was screaming, ‘You got a world record,’” Wasil said. “I was like, ‘Who are you talking to?’”
Wasil highlighted the Jimi Flowers Classic back in January with a new world record in the SB7 50-meter breaststroke.Boyt was talking to Wasil, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, who has gone from newcomer to Paralympic hopeful in just four years. Just days after being named to the U.S. Paralympics Swimming National “A” Team, Wasil broke Jessica Long’s SB7 world record in the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 41.21 seconds. This September, she hopes to represent her country at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games, which has been her goal, she said, since the very start of her Paralympic swimming career.
“As soon as I found out that there was a chance that I could become a member of Team USA, I wanted it,” she said. “That was my sole focus and drive in every practice, every weight session, every competition.”
Wasil isn’t comfortable discussing the specifics, but the bilateral hip injuries she suffered while serving as a medic in Iraq in 2010 led to multiple surgeries and the loss of function in her lower left leg. Though she was never a swimmer growing up, her desire to return to active duty led her to the pool in January 2012.
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