She became so good that Paul suggested she train for the
Paralympics. As they worked out a training schedule, she let
out that she swam. McDowell was most excited when he saw how
good she was and, despite her protests, got her into competitive
swimming. She beat every freestyler in her category. "You've
got a serious chance for the US Paralympic team", Paul
said. She hated the idea because it would mean training in
the sport she associated more with humiliations than rewards.
But finally she realised he was right. It was time to forget
road-racing, hire a swimming coach and throw herself into
her childhood dream. In six months she achieved what usually
took three years. "You've got a physiology most people
would kill for!" said her coach.
Brenda was picked for the Paralympics team for Barcelona,
where she swam faster in the 50 metres freestyle than she
had ever done before, winning a bronze medal and then a gold
medal as a member of the 100 metre freestyle relay team.
Reprinted with permission from the
February 1995 Reader's Digest magazine.
© The Reader's Digest Association Ltd.