a new vista
Over a long August weekend, John and I met Beth at the San Antonio airport for our first trip to Texas. Oppressive heat welcomed us. I bothered Beth with temperature checks and wondered who had the idea for a swim meet in Texas in August. Between prelims and finals of the U.S. Paralympics meet, I left a trail of sweat through the River Walk and the Alamo, monitoring Beth’s temperature often. John’s camera captured butterflies on bright flowers, thriving in the stifling heat.
Beth and the other National Team swimmers learned about lactate testing, an important element of competitive swimming.
Lactate increased in arm and leg muscles during races, a potential problem if the athlete had another event in the same session. A quick poke for a drop of blood right after her first race revealed Beth's lactate level. After she warmed down with leisurely laps, a coach tested her blood again. If her lactate level was not low enough, she swam slowly for a longer time. Through this process, repeated after other races, they determined the optimum warm down for each swimmer, so muscles would be at peak performance for the next race.
Beth’s swim times in San Antonio earned her a place on the World Championship team going to South Africa.
Unwilling to miss a month of college, she gave up her slot immediately to allow someone else to go in her place. However, the Beijing Paralympics would not be declined.
Her IPC World Rankings rose to fourth and fifth with the 100 and 200 freestyle.
As she finished her internship on Capitol Hill, Beth decided Washington, DC was her favorite big city. Losing the last remnants of her shyness, Beth accepted her first dates. She didn’t see her disability or her wheelchair as impediments to dating.
She thought about how her next years would revolve around finishing at Harvard and starting graduate school, so at her request, we sold her car to a Toledo friend who needed the hand controls.
I would always cherish our fun road trip memories in her little blue car.
Next: Career Change!
10/17/2018 03:12:35 pm
Living in TX since 6, I know how oppressive the heat can be. You guys were troopers.
10/19/2018 05:44:11 pm
Yes, we didn’t anticipate that kind of heat. Not the best for sightseeing!
10/27/2018 11:46:19 am
Not at all.
10/21/2018 09:38:24 pm
Thanks, Amy. I loved watching her find her own way in life!
10/22/2018 01:31:16 am
D.C. is a great place for someone who uses a wheelchair. I grew up in rural NW Ohio, still love and miss it. Accessible transportation is very difficult (its difficult in Columbus Ohio). I travel to D.C. monthly. Love the museums, monuments, history, heritage. And that its generally accessible.
10/22/2018 08:09:40 pm
I’m from NW Ohio, too! I grew up in Lorain and raised my kids in Tiffin. We visit relatives in Lorain and Vermilion, and have good friends in Columbus. Accessibility seems to gradually be getting better, and places like DC are a step ahead of the rest. I agree, DC is a great place to visit!
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