Leading into the Summer of 2016, eventual Paralympic 100M and 50M Champion Michelle Konkoly started to look pretty strong in the water.
Michelle had joined our team at T2 Aquatics in January of 2015, and although she had been training awesome in the water and in the weight room, the improvement on the clock wasn't happening the way it seemed it should. Sure, there was a half second over 100M…but not enough to justify a big move to a new place, looking for the bell to ring on the BIG GOALS. Just getting a tenth or two over 50M isn't enough improvement for anyone with the big goals, and it's not enough improvement to beat people who have previously been difficult to handle.
Michelle's quest was physical and mental, and the work was physical and mental. There was not a stone left unturned by the athlete in this case. One of the most eye-popping things for me to see was the obvious improvement with Michelle's ability to hold water while getting to high speeds. Take a look at the videos here, one from the Para World Champs in 2015, where Michelle won a Silver in 1:03.25 -- and one from Rio in 2016, where Michelle won the Paralympic Gold in 1:00.91:
The video above is from 2015.
43 strokes going down, 53 coming back
1:03.25, Silver Medal
The video below is from 2016.
41 strokes going down, 48 coming back
1:00.91, Gold Medal
Here is the 50M comparison:
The top is 2015; 29.4 / 53 Strokes / Silver Medal
The bottom is 2016; 28.2 / 47 Strokes / Gold Medal