Toni Davis’ and Justin Fleming’s Paralympic Diaries

By Toni Davis

ATHENS, September 15. AFTER a nine-hour flight from Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, the US Paralympic team arrived in Athens.

Even though I felt groggy from the flight, I was excited to be in the country where the Olympics originated.

While riding on the bus that would take my teammates and me to the Olympic Village, I noticed that we were being escorted by two police cars. This struck me as the Greeks thinking of us as elite athletes needing to be protected.

After receiving my credentials at registration and unpacking my bags, jet lag started to set in. The team was advised by the coaches not to take a nap so we could get used to Greece's time (which is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard time). It was very hard trying to stay up, but I managed to do it! After eating and a meeting with the team and coaches, I went to sleep early, looking foward to getting used to the water again after a day of missing it.

Before falling asleep, I visualized my races — the 100 meter fly and 50 meter freestyle. I know that with 3-1/2 months of hard training, prayer, listening to coaches and Prince before my race, I am ready to swim and make my name known around the world.

By Justin Fleming

ATHENS, September 16. AFTER being together as a team for nearly three weeks, it was a lot of fun to finally land in Greece. Until we sat in the airport for two hours. I have no complants though – there were plenty of fun people to talk to, all waiting for the same thing. To see the pool.

On Sunday we got our first chance to look at the three pools, the warm-up,
the Olympic and the indoor pool where we will be competing. What was
really interesting about the pools is that they are almost exactly the same, which is really nice because you can get a good feel for the competition waters even if you're not in that pool.

Right now I am just trying to visualize my races, the 100 fly and the 400
free. All I can think about is how nice it will feel to be swimming in
finals with the other seven fastest men in the world.

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