Image copyright Getty Images Image caption London 2012 Paralympics were Weggemann’s first major competition
In Beijing in 2008, young, fit marathon swimmer Mallory Weggemann trained only three or four times a week and was sleeping late in order to make the U-17 national team, before flooding and mudslides in Thailand in 2010 left her seriously injured.
“I had a stroke in the flooded house and just went into a three-day coma,” she said.
“My parents and brother had to break the flood waters with bricks to get to me. I lost some fingers and the rest of my toes and right leg.”
Since then, Weggemann has learnt to swim again and become a three-time Paralympic medallist.
Her life’s work involves helping disadvantaged kids with prosthetic limbs to swim.
The London 2012 Paralympics was her first major competition. “There was this phrase that I heard – ‘Look at the determination. Look at the determination’,” she said.
“Something like that is what it took to get me out there and I knew I had to be good and to push myself.
“I’m always hearing ‘I didn’t think I was good enough’. Well you know what, here’s an example.”
Now Mallory has shared her inspirational story in a new book, Swim Team Babes, to raise awareness about handicapped children’s swimming.
“Swimming – and I can go back as far as the Pre Classic when I was six – that’s what saved my life,” she said.
“So I just want to tell kids that if they’re interested in swimming, let’s talk about that so we have some kind of empathy for what other people might be going through.”