Jessica Long, Paralympic Gold Medalist, Transfers from NBAC to Loyola

Photo Courtesy: Paul Cunningham-USA TODAY Sports

Jessica Long, a 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, is now training at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md.

Long, who had been part of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club’s high performance group under head coach Bob Bowman, has decided to stay close to her family instead of making the move to Arizona State with Bowman as he takes over as the Sun Devils’ head coach.

“I’m happy for Bob,” Long told Swimming World. “It is a phenomenal opportunity, and is going to be a great job for him, but a move to Tempe wasn’t in the cards for me. I had trained away from my family while swimming at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, and wanted to be home heading into Rio.”

For the past three weeks, Long has trained with a handful of other Paralympians as part of Brian Loeffler’s team at Loyola University. This group includes Naval hero Brad Snyder and Long’s Paralympic roommate Cortney Jordan.

“I’ve known Brian for about 6-8 years, and he’s heavily involved in Paralympics,” Long said. “He has been phenomenal to work with so far. I have the World Championships coming up in July, and it’s been great to have Brian immediately jump in as my coach. He’s done a lot of video work with me and is starting to push me in the IM again. He has such high goals and big dreams for me. It’s only been three weeks, but I already feel like a better swimmer.”

Long is definitely focusing on the positives of the move, although she does look back on the NBAC changeover with a bit of melancholy. Long grew up in Baltimore, and swimming with NBAC had always been a dream of hers.

“I feel like I left on a really good note with Bob, but the hardest thing for me was leaving that team,” Long said. “I had wanted to swim with NBAC all my life, and it was an honor when Bob welcomed me there and allowed me to fulfill that dream. I was able to swim at the highest level the sport can offer by swimming alongside great people like Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt and Lotte Friis. I was able to prove to myself I am a good athlete, and I could keep up with these guys.”

Long will be looking to add to an illustrious career already spanning three Paralympics as she focuses on the 2016 Rio Games. In 2012, she won five gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.

Long is the latest of the NBAC dominos to fall in Bowman’s transition from Maryland to Arizona.  Phelps, Schmitt and Chase Kalisz are confirmed to be headed to Tempe, while Becca Mann and Lotte Friis have yet to go public with their decisions.

Long’s medal tally courtesy of Wikipedia.

Paralympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens 100 m freestyle S8
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens 400 m freestyle S8
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens 4×100 m freestyle 34pts
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing 100 m freestyle S8
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing 400 m freestyle S8
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing 100 m butterfly S8
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing 200 m indiv. medley SM8
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 100  butterfly S8
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 400 m freestyle S8
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 100 m breaststroke SB7
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 200 m indiv. medley SM8
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 100 m freestyle S8
Silver medal – second place 2008 Beijing 100 m backstroke S8
Silver medal – second place 2012 London 4×100 m freestyle 34 pts
Silver medal – second place 2012 London 100 m backstroke S8
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Beijing 100 m breaststroke SB7
Bronze medal – third place 2012 London 4×100 m medley 34 pts
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Author: Jason Marsteller

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Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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