Michelle Konkoly

  • Hometown: Naples, Florida

A major injury left Michelle Konkoly temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. But this didn’t stop her from winning gold on the world’s biggest stage…

Michelle’s Story:

I was a late-bloomer into the world of swimming – I didn’t start until I was 13!  I swam through high school and attended Georgetown to swim.  However, during my freshman year of college, in 2011, I slipped while trying to open a window and fell five stories to the ground.  I broke numerous bones, including my L2 vertebrae, and sustained a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from the waist down.  After 3 surgeries and months of intensive rehab, I eventually regained the ability to walk again, though I had permanent weakness in me legs.  Despite this huge curveball, I was determined to continue swimming!  I discovered Paralympic swimming in 2012, and quickly rose to the top of the world rankings for S9 classification sprint freestyle events. Today, I’m living in Naples, FL and am training full-time.

My main achievements are 3x silver medalist at 2015 IPC World Championships in 50m free, 100m free, and 4x100m free relay; 2016 US Paralympic National Team Member; 5-time American Record Holder.

Recently I won 4 medals in Rio (Gold in 50m and 100m free, silver in 4x100m free relay and bronze in 4x100m medley relay), and am the World Record Holder in 50m and 100m free.

Swimmers are notoriously uncoordinated, and I am no exception!  I tried many sports as a kid, but swimming really stuck because I loved the direct correlation between the amount of work you put in at practice and your performance at meets.

“My favorite thing about Polar Bottles is how cold they keep my water during practice!  I train outside in Florida, and during most months of the year it is HOT! My favorite product is definitely the 42 oz Big Bottle!  I love it because just one bottle can last me through a whole 2-hour workout, without having to get out of the pool to refill it.  Plus I get tons of compliments on how big it is!” 

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