EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - A Paralympic swimmer from Eagan, Minn. set two new Parapan records and brought home five new medals (two gold, two silver, one bronze) from the Parapan American Games in Toronto this month. The competition hosted more than 1,600 athletes from 28 countries.
Mallory Weggemen met with the Minnesota community on Monday to celebrate her wins at the Life Time Fitness in Lakeville.
Weggeman, who has been a competitive swimmer since age 7, was paralyzed from the waist down in 2008 when she received an epidural injection to help treat back pain. Complications with the procedure left the college freshman paralyzed from the waist down.
But that didn't stop her. She went on to win a Gold Medal at the London Olympics in 2012, and currently holds 34 American records and 15 world records.
A serious arm injury in 2014 had kept her out of the pool, but her swim coach will be the first to tell you that it would take a whole lot more than that to stop Weggemen.
"When she gets up there it doesn't matter what has been thrown at her with her legs and her arm injury, she's going to compete and compete to the best of her ability," coach Steve Van Dyne said.
And that ability is something Van Dyne first spotted when he coached her as a teen at Eagan High School. Weggemen is now training for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where she'll again be swimming for the gold.
"It's really motivating knowing that all the stuff myself and my support team have done for the past year is working," she told Fox 9. "And it's nice to know we have another year before it really all counts."