Standout GLASA athlete Alyssa Gialamas has qualified for the 2012 Paralympics, which will take place in London beginning Aug. 29.
Gialamas will be compete in three swimming events: 50-meter freestyle on Aug. 30; 200 freestyle on Sept. 1, and the 100 freestyle on Sept. 8.
Her premier event will be the 200 freestyle after being ranked the highest in the world for 2011.
Gialamas, 17, has been swimming for GLASA for four years now, as well as competing on her high school swim team at Waubonsie Valley High School. Her former coach Glen O’Sullivan, who coached her for four years, said that he began to see potential in her shortly after she started to swim.
Once she started to swim for her high school team and became more competitive, O’Sullivan began to take her to competitive swim meets in places such as Cincinnati and Minneapolis. Last April, Gialamas competed in the Can-Am Swim Meet in Minneapolis where she got re-classified to S-5, which was a turning point in her swimming career. When she switched classes, her times began to improve and she started to break U.S. records.
Another turning point in her career was when she was selected by the American team to go to the Para-Panam games in Mexico. She then began working with her high school coach on a daily basis to prepare herself for qualifying for the Paralympics.
Last weekend, Gialamas finally got the opportunity to compete in the qualifying rounds of the Paralympics. She took complete advantage of the opportunity by breaking three U.S. records and successfully securing a spot on the U.S. Paralympics swim team.
O’Sullivan always thought she had a good chance of making it to the Paralympics and is very confident that she will be able to keep up with the competition in London. “She will hold her own and will do very well against other swimmers in her class,” he said.