Dedication is far from a foreign concept to any athlete who is training towards a goal. Countless hours of practice, eating the right foods, and staying consistent with a workout schedule are all very crucial to lead an athlete towards success. Now consider a Paralympic athlete's dedication. It may take an individual with a disability twice as long or twice as much muscle power to complete the same task that someone without a disability would take. Success in any sport takes dedication, but success in a Paralympic sport is – quite literally – a whole different ball game.
Reilly Boyt joined her local swimming team at age nine, and little did she know that she was already on her way to Rio in 2016. She has a condition called achondroplasia, which is the most common form of dwarfism. Boyt swam throughout high school, earning a sport on her current collegiate team at the University of California-San Diego. Her coach speaks very highly of Reilly's character, claiming that, “Reilly has the combination of a tough, ‘won’t take no for an answer’ personality, as well as flexible and ‘go with the flow,'” added UCSD head coach Corrie Falcon. “This combination has allowed her to succeed at the highest levels. Reilly has an iron will, and there really is no stopping her.”
It is this attitude that fostered her success as a college athlete, earning the title of 2015 Challenged Athlete of the Year at UCSD, and a spot in the San Diego Hall of Champions. She made her college debut as a freshman competing in meets, and has been a crucial component of the team ever since. She is currently a junior at UCSD, and has qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, where she has already set two personal bests in the first two of the four races in which she will compete. We're excited to follow the rest of Reilly's journey as she proudly represents Team USA, and also admire her hard work and great execution as she swims her way to her dream.