Bro will be swimming in Rio with more than a medal at stake | News | Palo Alto Online |


Bro will be swimming in Rio with more than a medal at stake


Brickelle Bro's journey began with a scrapbook. It continues with her second trip to the Paralympics.

Her mother, Heather, filled a scrapbook with the successes of other girls and women who were similar to Bro, a congenital bi-lateral amputee.

“There were pictures of girls doing amazing things," Bro said. “Girls with disabilities are often told 'you can't do that.' Nothing is expected of you. It's important to show what we can do. I saw that and said I can do that."

Bro, who swam for the Stanford women's team this past season, has a list of accomplishments that stagger the imagination.

Four years after joining a swim club she was named to her first Paralympic team and finished fifth overall in the 400 free in London. She began her sophomore year in high school that fall.

By age 16, Bro began working with a video production team, started her own foundation and became a role model for all girls everywhere.

Bro, who set a pair of American records in the 1,650 free, practices at least four hours a day and, instead of sitting around, decided to take a summer class at Stanford in social psychology.

When it came time to leave Colorado for Stanford, Bro was faced with some anxious moments.

“At home I had my team and my closest friends," she said. “When I came here it was a little scary. I really didn't know what to expect. Immediately, though, everybody was so welcoming and I felt part of the team right away and have only grown closer. I have a family here and that's exciting."

In fact, Bro has become even more of a celebrity when she's attending Paralympic events.

“Usually I'm the only one from Stanford at those events and people come up to me and ask about the team," Bro said. “They recognize me as a part of that."

Bro's teammates in the fall will include world record holder Katie Ledecky and Olympians Simone Manuel and Lia Neal, along with several other veterans and newcomers who competed in the Olympic trials.

“It's really exciting to be part of something so amazing," she said. “It's more than I could of dreamed."

She's helped break barriers for young women in nearly every facet of life. Bro was smart enough to get into Stanford, active enough to realize she can do whatever she wants and swims well enough to qualify for the Paralympics twice.

All those achievements, and what waits ahead, is the subject of a second scrapbook. It's filled with her own accomplishments, perhaps there to motivate someone else.

She comes into contact with the best and the brightest and will continue to make her mark in whatever endeavor she chooses.

Swimming will always be a part of her life.

“I definitely love swimming and that's something I will continue to share," she said. “I want others to love swimming too. I don't know what I'll be doing but swimming will always be a part of it, whether it's teaching, researching or just swimming."

Being a part of a team, competing at the Pac-12 championships, and hearing people cheer for her is exciting. She's touched people's hearts and shown the naysayers that commitment, dedication and overcoming adversity is just par for the course.

“Swimming can be an individual sport, when it's just you against the clock," she said. “Without a team supporting you, it would be awful."

In Rio, she'll have a whole country rooting for her.

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4 people like this
Posted by Cali1967
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 1, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Remarkable young woman. Congratulations Brickelle! Glad to have you representing Team USA!

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