Becca Meyers ’17 was in shock. Not only had she just broken three world records at the IPC World Swimming Championships in Scotland last summer, she had just received an ESPY Award for the Best Female Athlete with a Disability—a national award presented by ESPN. But for her, it was just the start of a journey that she’s continuing in record-setting fashion this year.
“It’s been a roller coaster the past couple of years, and I’m still on it,” says Meyers, who was born deaf and diagnosed with Usher syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes gradual hearing, balance and vision loss. “I know I still have more to accomplish, so I look at all of the accolades last summer as just the beginning.”
Meyers has enjoyed a standout season for the F&M women’s swimming team, earning “Swimmer of the Week” honors from the Centennial Conference four times. She won gold at the conference championships in the 1650 freestyle (16:43.06), shattering the pool record, meet record, and her own conference record. She placed first in several other meets this season.
Another memorable highlight took place before a meet against Johns Hopkins at the beginning of the season. That night, her family joined her poolside for a special ceremony the College organized to celebrate her achievements. She used the moment to think about her purpose in the water.
“One of the reasons I do this is to raise awareness of disabilities and give back,” she says. “If you asked me five years ago, I wouldn’t have believed I’d be in this position.”
The Meyers File
Events: Freestyle, butterfly (distance and mid-distance)
- At a swim meet in Canada last year, Meyers took one of the gold medals she’d won and placed it around the neck of a disabled 11-year-old girl, saying, “Someday I see you getting one of your own.” They’re now pen pals.
- Her guide dog, Birdie, has her own Instagram account (@birdie_wonder_dog)