Since seeing an announcement about USA Swimming’s selection criteria for the 2009 Deaflympic Games in Taipei, Taiwan, I was reminded of a deaf swimmer that I grew up swimming with in the 1970s. Her name is Shannon Brophy and she broke a world record for the deaf in the 200 meter breastroke back in 1977 at the Deaflympics in Bucharest, Romania. She came in third at the 2005 World Master’s Games in Edmonton in the 50 meter breastroke competing against non-deaf athletes of her age group. She grew up swimming with the North Edmonton Sharks swim club for many years and was the first swimmer with a disability that I knew as a child.
It is interesting to note that the Deaflympics, held every 4 years, and are the longest running multi-sport event excluding the Olympics themselves. The first games, held in Paris in 1924, were also the first ever international sporting event for athletes with a disability.