Lizzi Smith

Lizzi Smith

The Backstory:

Lizzi Smith was born with no left forearm as a result of amniotic band syndrome. At age seven she joined her first swim team and began to swim competitively soon thereafter. Smith has competed at multiple World Championships and has earned a total of six World Championship medals (two silver, four bronze). She made her Paralympic Games debut at the 2016 Games in Rio, bringing home a silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a bronze in the 4x100m medley relay. She finished just off the podium in the 100 meter butterfly, placing fourth in that event.

Away from swimming:
Smith has creative passions she pursues when she isn’t in the pool or coaching swim teams. She works as a freelance graphic designer and in the future plans to put more focus on that aspect of her life.  

In their own words:
“Inclusion to me is like a swim meet. I show up on race day with my meticulously rehearsed race plan, a lane, and a goal. My competitors share the same goalto be faster than they were yesterday. They don’t know, care, or notice that I have a disability. I am my ability. All I need is the opportunity to see how fast I can go.”  

“Fifteen minutes into my first practice, I quit. The following season my parents bribed me with pizza to give it another shot. I’ve been swimming ever since.” 

“A fear that I’ve had ever since I can remember is that I make people uncomfortable with my limb difference. Countless times I’ve hid my body for people. I’m changing the narrative. Your stares and negative reactions make me uncomfortable. I’ll work as hard as I can to do my part to make sure no more little kids see their limb difference represented through media as horror.”  

Learn More:
Team USA page
IPC Page
MySwimPro | #AskASwimPro Show
: “Lizzi Smith, Team USA Paralympic Medalist”
Statesman: “Paralympian Lizzi Smith Finds Herself In One-Hundredth Of A Second”
The Race Club: “The Correct Swim Pulling Motion with Lizzi Smith”
Spectrum News: “Paralympic Swimmer Ready to Represent Adaptive Athletes”


Prior Paralympics: 2016

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  • Sport: Swimming
  • Limb Difference: Left below elbow
  • DOB: 6/26/96
  • Residence: Austin, TX
  • School: Muncie Central High School
  • Classification: S9/SB9/SM9