Brad Snyder (swimmer)

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Brad Snyder
U.S. Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, left, Paralympian gold medal winner Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder, center, and Prince Harry prepare to light the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic T 130511-D-DB155-004.jpg
Missy Franklin, Brad Snyder and Prince Harry at 2013 Warrior Games, May 2013
Personal information
Full nameBradley Warren Snyder
Born (1984-02-29) February 29, 1984 (age 35)
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Alma materUnited States Naval Academy
Strokes400-meter freestyle
100-meter freestyle
CoachBrian Loeffler[1]

Bradley Warren "Brad" Snyder (born February 29, 1984) is an American swimmer on the United States Paralympic team who competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Snyder won two Gold medals and one Silver at London and three Gold and one Silver at Rio. He lost his eyesight from an IED explosion while serving in the United States Navy in Afghanistan. Among fully blind swimmers, he is the current world record holder for the 100-meter freestyle events.

Education and military service[edit]

Bradley Warren Snyder was born in Reno, Nevada to Michael and Valarie Snyder.[2] He swam while attending Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2006 with a degree in naval architecture; while there, he was captain of the swim team.[3]

Snyder eventually became a lieutenant in the Navy, and served in Afghanistan as an explosive ordnance disposal officer.[4] In September 2011, he lost both of his eyes after stepping on an IED in an attempt to help victims of another bombing. The explosion also gave him lacerations to his face and a shattered eardrum.[3][4] Snyder subsequently spent three weeks in intensive care, and then recovered for another five weeks in Florida. He explained, "When you're kind of patching your life back together and figuring out how to adjust to blindness, you're not good at anything. Walking was a challenge. Cooking's a challenge. Dressing and color matching is a challenge. There are all these things that used to be no problem that are all of a sudden really challenging. I had a hard time getting the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, because I can't see it."[4]

Snyder was the guest speaker at the 2013 Navy-Marine Corps Ball, held at the Washington Hilton, Washington, DC.

Swimming career[edit]

At the May 2012 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Snyder won four gold medals in swimming and three gold medals in track and field.[3]

In June 2012 at the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials in Bismarck, North Dakota, Snyder won the 400-meter freestyle and beat his own record by 54 seconds. His record time of 4:35.62 made him the current world leader among blind swimmers for the 400-meter freestyle. The race also secured him a spot on the United States Paralympic team at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. In addition, Snyder is the world record holder for the 100-meter freestyle among blind athletes, an event that he also swam in Bismarck.[4][5]

In August 2012 at the Paralympic Games in London, Snyder won Gold in the 100-meter freestyle (S11) after setting a Paralympic Record (57.18) in the preliminary heat.[6] The following day, he won a Silver Medal in the Men's 50m Freestyle (S11) setting an American record for 25.27.[7] Later that week, Snyder won Gold again in the Men's 400m Freestyle (S11) with a time of 4:32.41, exactly one year to the day after losing his eyesight.[8] The United States Olympic Committee selected Brad to serve as the United States' flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.[9]

He competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, winning all three gold medals in the end.[3]

Other endeavours[edit]

In 2013, Brad became the official spokesman for a tactile timepiece with his namesake, the "Bradley." Created by the product design company Eone Timepieces, the Bradley is designed in collaboration with vision impaired users.[10]

Fire In My Eyes[edit]

In 2016, he wrote a memoir with Tom Sileo entitled Fire in My Eyes: An American Warrior's Journey from being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Bradley Snyder"". London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  2. ^ "Midshipmen Profile". United States Naval Academy. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Bowker, Paul D. (June 13, 2012). "Starting with Swimming". United States Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Babiarz, Lou (June 16, 2012). "U.S. Paralympic Swimming Trials: Snyder world No. 1". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  5. ^ Briggs, Bill (June 18, 2012). "London bound: Blinded warrior to represent U.S. at 2012 Paralympics". MSNBC. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  6. ^ Chappel, Bill (August 31, 2012). "Navy Lieutenant Swims To Gold In London Paralympics, Months After Injury". National Public Radio. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  7. ^ "Bradley Snyder events and results". London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  8. ^ "Men's 400m Freestyle S11". London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  9. ^ "Brad Snyder to Carry Flag at Closing Ceremony of Paralympic Games". Navy Official Site of Naval Academy Athletics. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  10. ^ Callum Borchers (12 July 2013). "Thanks to Kickstarter, tactile watch debuts". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ Snyder, Brad, and Tom Sileo. Fire in My Eyes: An American Warrior's Journey from Being Blinded on the Battlefield to Gold Medal Victory. Boston: Da Capo Press, 2016. OCLC 933590573 ISBN 9780306825149