So far, Brad Snyder will bring home a gold and a silver medal from London, and the Games aren’t even over until September 9. That from a swimmer who calls himself “mediocre” – not because he’s blind but because he’s short – under 6 feet.
The St. Petersburg, Florida native won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle Friday and a silver in the 50-meter freestyle Saturday inthe 2012 Paralympic Games .
Snyder is a former captain of the U.S. Naval Academy’s swim team. The Paralympics mark his return to a sport that he loves and still practices despite losing his sight to bomb blast. The Washington Post:
In Afghanistan a year ago, a booby-trap bomb blew up in front of Snyder, a Navy lieutenant in an explosive-ordnance disposal unit. His face took the brunt of the blast. He now has two glass eyes.
As part of his rehabilitation, he got back into the swimming pool, where he had spent much of his high school and college years. Five months after the accident, he swam in a meet at the Olympic training center in Colorado. To his surprise, his times made him eligible for monthly stipends and travel expenses to national trials.
“It’s just kind of fed from there,” Snyder said. “The more success I’ve had, the more seriously I’ve taken it.”
When the Games conclude, Snyder plans to return Baltimore where he’s got an internship at RedOwl Analytics, a tech start-up in Baltimore.