Contributing writer Claire Forrest’s first steps took place in a swimming pool, a place she’s felt connected to ever since. After attending her first swim meet on a whim at the age of eleven without even knowing what a swim cap was, she quickly fell in love with the sport and joined a local team of swimmers with disabilities, which introduced her to the world of Paralympic swimming.
Club & High School Swimming
From there, Claire began swimming for Minneapolis club teams and her high school, where she earned her first national meet cut for the 50-meter backstroke at the age of fifteen in the S6 classification. Starting as a sprinter, Claire transitioned to mid-distance and distance freestyle towards the end of her high school years, when she completed two 10,000-yard swimming challenges. A 2008 Paralympic Trials participant, she experienced a career-best swim in the 400-meter freestyle.
Claire was fortunate to travel to several Canadian-American Paralympic Championship meets throughout her career. An English major at Grinnell College, she was a four-year member of the Grinnell Women’s Varsity Swim Team. In 2012, she placed in finals at the 2012 Paralympic Trials. She earned national and world Paralympic swim rankings throughout her career.
Paralympic and Able-Bodied Competition
Thanks to the commitment to inclusion of her coach and the Minnesota Swimming officials, Claire was able to swim in high-profile able-bodied swim meets alongside some of the nation’s top swimmers. She enjoyed Paralympic and able-bodied competition equally for the many commonalities they share. In 2009, she swam in the first finals heat offered for swimmers with disabilities the Minnesota Grand Prix and USA Swimming Speedo Championships. She also attended the 2012 Mission Viejo Swim Meet of Champions…. where she met her swimming idol Janet Evans and is still not over it.
Living in her hometown of Minneapolis, Claire traded competitive swimming for lap swimming after a thirteen-year career.
She currently works as a freelance public relations assistant and writer. Her roles include everything from managing social media accounts, to copywriting, to writing press releases for non-profit organizations and marketing firms in the Twin Cities. A self-professed bibliophile, when not working or spending time with family and friends, Claire has her nose in a good book or is trying to write a draft of her own.
Keep up with Claire
She is more than happy to report that, over a decade after her first meet, she now owns more swim caps than she can count. You can keep up with her writing on her website, ClaireForrest.com, or on Twitter, @claire4est.