Major: Exercise Physiology (BS)
Swimming has been a lifelong passion that’s whisked Mei White ’26 to the top.
The exercise physiology major and transfer student from Athens, Georgia, started swimming competitively at age 6 and grew into the sport after having started it for physical therapy. Her right leg was amputated above the knee due to proximal femoral focal deficiency, a birth defect in which the upper thigh bone is missing or malformed.
White’s swimming competitions have taken her across the globe to multiple countries, including the COVID-19-delayed 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo and the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
She considered several Virginia colleges before transferring to Lynchburg for the Fall 2023 semester — a decision that largely concerned head swimming coach Brad Dunn.
White described “Coach Brad” as “super welcoming to everyone” and said that, in her experience, “not a lot of collegiate coaches are open to coaching someone with a disability.”
On the contrary, she said, Dunn “was like, ‘We want you, come in, we want you,'” and when she called him a couple of days after visiting Lynchburg, the first thing he said was, “Is this the call that I’m hoping for?”
Next on her bucket list? Representing the U.S. team at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.