With Rio In Mind As Her First And Last Olympics, Maya DiRado Pulls Off 400 IM Victory
BY PEGGY SHINN | JUNE 26, 2016, 10:18 P.M. (ET)
OMAHA, Neb. — Coming into the final 100 meters of the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming, Maya DiRado thought she was dreaming. She was leading the race and about to make her first — and final — Olympic team.
“It was the most fun last 100 I’ve ever had in a 400 IM,” she said. “Thoughts crossed my mind like, ‘This is not real life, I’m imaging this, I’m still in my nap.’”
But she was very much awake and leading one of her idols, Elizabeth Beisel, a two-time Olympian and silver medalist in the 400 IM at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
DiRado won in 4:33.73, over three seconds faster than Beisel (4:36.81).
“I was here in the stands watching (Elizabeth) in 2008 when she made her first Olympic team,” said DiRado. “So to be able to make it together is like, I don’t know what life I’m living, but it’s amazing.”
A 2014 Stanford graduate, DiRado, 23, hadn’t planned on competing at any Olympic Games. She raced in the 2008 Olympic Trials but finished far off the leaders. Then in 2012, she finished fourth in both the 200 and 400 IMs.
Then she went back to college and finished her degree in management science and engineering. A job beckoned. (Click here to read complete story on teamusa.org)