Rock Canyon swimmer makes Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Team, breaks American record
HIGHLANDS RANCH – After placing fifth in the 400-meter freestyle during the London Paralympic Games; Rock Canyon High School Junior Brickelle Bro has not slowed down. In fact, she recently broke an American record and is now preparing to swim in the Pan Pacific Para games.
On March 2, during the Colorado Swimming Senior Meet, Bro broke the Paralympic American Record in the S8 Disability Classification by swimming 1,000 yards in 12:48:81.
“My coach had me do an open turn at the 1,000 mark, so I could catch my time there,” explained Bro. “I’m still in shock that I was able to push myself that hard.”
While her swim slashed the previous record set by Jessica Long in 2005, Bro wasn’t finished. She accomplished the history-making feat during a mile race, so she actually had to swim another 600 yards before finishing.
“I had to turn around and keep going,” Bro said, with a laugh. “I was exhausted. I don’t even know how I finished.”
Bro was born without both of her feet, making her a congenital bi-lateral below-the-knee amputee. While she wears prosthetics, she has not let anything slow her down.
“I’m just living my life. It’s a part of me. It’s like having brown hair or blue eyes. I just don’t have feet. It’s part of who I am,” Bro said.
What really sets her apart is her persistence and resiliency. After practicing six days a week, she actually prefers the longer-distance races, especially the 500-meter freestyle.
“I like to go slower. I’m not a huge sprinter,” Bro said.
Slower may not be the right word, however.
During the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Bro finished fifth in the 400-meter freestyle, just ahead of American McKenzie Coan, who was sixth.
“London was so fantastic,” Bro said. “It was a fantastic experience to be able to join TEAM USA, to do something that I absolutely love, and to meet some absolutely amazing people from other countries.”
She wasn’t able to take part in the opening ceremonies, because it was the day before her event.
“It’s a lot of walking and standing around. They don’t want you to be sore for your event,” Bro explained.
“She will, however, most certainly have another chance.
She recently qualified to swim with Team USA at the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Team, in Pasadena, California this August. In 2016, she hopes to return to the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Despite competing on the world stage, Bro is a pretty typical student at Rock Canyon High School. She enjoys being part of RCTV, especially behind the scenes.
“I definitely do not like being in front of the camera. I’d rather be the one behind the computer cutting up all the clips or behind the camera filming, rather than acting,” Bro said.
She is thinking about pursuing a career in film after high school.
Finally, Bro has actually started her own non-profit organization, called the MyFeetDontStink Foundation to support girls struggling with physical disabilities. Bro’s goal is to provide them with the same support she received as a young girl, in hopes of building their confidence.
“The Foundation is to help them feel happy and to be able to go on with their lives and do what they want to do,” Bro said.
Learn more about the Foundation at http://www.myfeetdontstink.com/foundation