One year to the day after an explosion while serving in Afghanistan left him blind, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder scored an emotional victory in the men’s 400 S11 freestyle to win his second gold medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Captain of the swim team at the U.S. Naval Academy, Snyder rediscovered swimming after his injury. His first gold medal at London was in the men’s 100 S11 freestyle and he added silver in the 50 free.
“It is really hard to imagine I’ve come this far in a year,” Snyder said after winning the 100. “This whole journey has been one foot in front of the other; each step has held an immense degree of uncertainty even down to this morning. I didn’t know how the swim would go or how my nerves would be in front of all the people. It even carried into tonight but to be able to come out and perform and get to the wall is an amazing feeling.”
Following up his success at London, Snyder won three gold medals and one silver at Rio 2016 and his performance in the 100-meter freestyle S11 was one to remember. Snyder finished in 56.15 seconds, breaking a world record that had been the longstanding Para swimming mark of all time, set by U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Famer John Morgan. Snyder was honored as the Male Athlete of the Paralympic Games at the Team USA Awards.