6 Reasons to Admire First-Time Olympian Maya DiRado

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Allison Pierce, Swimming World College Intern

The Olympic Trials this past month brought about many first-time Olympians. One of those Olympic rookies is Stanford University’s Maya DiRado. DiRado’s noteworthy swimming career has taken her far, but she is also successful in many other aspects of her life. DiRado is a great role model for swimmers because she can show them how to work hard both in and out of the pool.

Here are six reasons why you should look up to the Olympic rookie…

1. She is Team USA’s top seed in three events.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

DiRado qualified for her first Olympic Trials when was just 15 years old. Flash-forward eight years later, and she will represent Team USA in the 200 IM, 400 IM, and the 200 backstroke as America’s top seed.

2. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in management science and engineering.

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Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Not only did DiRado attend one of the top academic schools in the country, she did so dedicating 20 plus hours per week as a Division I athlete. Clearly, DiRado had to utilize effective time management skills in order to be successful in the classroom and the pool.

3. She’s still dropping time.

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Often as swimmers get older it gets more difficult to drop time, but this is not the case for DiRado. In a press conference at the Olympic Trials, DiRado explained that her improvement has been slow and steady. “It’s always been a little bit better, a little bit better,” DiRado said. “There have been some years where it hasn’t gotten better but it’s just like steps forward. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to keep improving; I know that doesn’t happen for everybody.”

4. She’s living proof that love can be found in the water. 

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Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Often seen on your local swim team, inter-team dating in everywhere. While not all of these relationships work out, DiRado shows us that the swimmer bond is strong. DiRado married a former Stanford swimmer named Rob Andrews who now works as a software engineer.

5. She’s entering the “real world” right after the Olympics.

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Photo Courtesy: JD Lasica

While swimming is a large part of DiRado’s life, it is not her whole life. This will be DiRado’s first and only Olympics because on September 9, she will be joining a consulting firm called McKinsey and Co in Atlanta as a business analyst. 

6. She’s a breakfast champion.

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Last but not least, DiRado is even a fast eater. According to NBC Olympics, DiRado can eat two eggs, two pancakes, and two pieces of bacon from a local cafe in a mere two minutes and 45 seconds.

Best of luck to Maya DiRado and the rest of Team USA in Rio!