Courtesy: arena, a SwimSwam partner
Global sportswear brand arena adds Paralympian Elizabeth (Lizzi) Smith to its elite team of athletes. Lizzi Smith is the second Paralympian on Team arena alongside friend and teammate Jessica Long. The sponsorship is finalized just weeks before Lizzi leaves for the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London, and Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, where she’ll compete for her chance to represent the USA Paralympic Team in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The 23-year-old began swimming competitively at the age of 7-years-old and stuck with it because it was the first place where having one hand felt cool—it became her superpower. The fact that she was just as fast as her friends and competitors, despite her disability, gave her a great sense of confidence and strength.
Lizzi’s remarkable dedication and hard work over her many years of swimming with the Cardinal Community Swim Club in Muncie, Indiana all paid off when she made her debut on the Paralympic stage at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Swimming in the S9 category, Lizzi achieved a lifelong dream earning her first Paralympic medals with a Silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a Bronze in the 4×100 medley relay.
“My biggest accomplishment to date is my silver medal from the Rio Paralympic Games in the 4×100 freestyle. Earlier that evening I was out-touched for bronze by .01 in the 100-meter butterfly and had just an hour and a half to pick myself up before that relay,” Says Lizzi Smith.
Following Rio, Lizzi took 16-months off from the sport unsure if she wanted to pursue swimming again. During her hiatus, 13-time Paralympic gold medal swimmer, Jessica Long, connected Lizzi and legendary coach Ian Crocker. Lizzi began training under the three-time Olympian and five-time medalist, and soon-after made her comeback in the competition pool. She returned faster, stronger, and more connected than ever to the sport she loves.
Leading up to Tokyo 2020, Lizzi has her eyes on the prize. Her primary focus is to win an individual medal— something she hasn’t accomplished since 2013— and shave half a second off her 100m butterfly personal best. She is excited to do so as the newest Team arena athlete, and is thrilled to be joining a company that supports para athletes.
Lizzi explains, “I’m excited to be part of a team that believes in my mission as an individual, and more importantly, I’m excited about arena’s involvement in elevating the status and awareness of the Paralympic movement.”
arena’s continuous support of the Paralympic community speaks to its commitment to making the sport more inclusive and diverse. The company believes that every swimmer should have the opportunity to express themselves and work towards their goals, regardless of circumstances.
“Lizzi is a great athlete and we are lucky to have her on our team,” said Mark Pinger, General Manager of arena North America. “We will do our very best to support her as she pursues her dreams and we hope to help create a platform for her to inspire other swimmers to be the very best they can be.”
Since 1973, arena has created and marketed waterwear products for competitive swimmers and swimming fans worldwide, and is universally recognized as one of the premium brands of high quality swimwear and equipment. Over the last 45 years, arena has developed strong expertise in creating best-in-class products with particular focus on the pool segment, while also expanding into leisure and beach wear. Today the arena brand has a presence in 116 countries around the globe. In an historic agreement signed in early 2014, arena became a principal sponsor and technical partner of the swimming world’s governing body, FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation). With U.S. headquarters in Portland, Ore., arena is the exclusive outfitter of the U.S. National Team, and a proud partner of USA Swimming. www.arenawaterinstinct.com