PHOENIX, Arizona, November 3. THREE-TIME Olympic gold medalist Debbie Meyer is our newest Ready Room guest on The Morning Swim Show.
Meyer won three gold medals at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and once held world records in all the freestyle distances. Looking back on her Olympic success, Meyer calls herself "a crazy young lady. … I was just 16 years old."
Moving to Sacramento from the East Coast at 12 years old, Meyer met famed coach Sherm Chavoor and was initially rattled by "this gruff old man." Meyer talks about her first practice at the Arden Hills Swim Club, and how Chavoor helped her progress and grow as a distance swimmer.
The year 1966 was Meyer's breakout year, and she talks in detail about swimming at both national championships that year, where she struggled in a swim-off and tried to fight off a world record holder. She ended the year with a world record in the 1500 free.
Meyer describes her race strategy at the 1968 Olympic Trials, especially swimming the 200 free, a relatively untested event for her. After arriving in Mexico City, she was also worried about recurring bursitis in both arms, her asthma and a sprained ankle.
Meyer's first event was the 400 free, and she swam through the pain. "I couldn't do turns," she said. "But I eventually had to use the foot. My ankle was black and blue."
When asked by host Brent Rutemiller on how she was able to win three gold medals (200, 400 and 800 freestyles), Meyer said simply "I love to swim. I love the challenge, and I believed in Sherm."
Meyer's swimming career only lasted five years, and she talks about how those years shaped who she is today as a swim school owner.
"The desire, the dedication, the determination has stuck with me," she said.
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