Konkoly’s miraculously back in pool
Special to Montgomery Media
Methacton High School girls swim team has a tradition of producing standout swimmers. Michelle Konkoly is one of them. The freestyle ace, who swims for Georgetown rniversity, was on state-caliber relay teams at Methacton with Blaire Kinsey, who now swims at Virginia Tech, and Kristen Rodman, who is one of Penn State’s top freestylers.
Konkoly’s career as a swimmer for the Hoyas was going well through her freshman season — and then came to a screeching halt on a cold, winter night in D.C.
In the early morning of Jan. 11, 2011, Konkoly was attempting to open a window in her door room because of excessive heat in the room when the accident happened. She fell out the wLnGRw DnG SOuPPHWHG fiYH VWRULHV WR the ground below. Amazingly, she survived the fall. “, IHOO fiYH VWRULHV DnG ODnGHG Rn Py feet,” said Konkoly. “I damaged my spine and had a lot of other injuries. I have rods and pins in me that will never come out. My discs were OK — just the vertebrae body got squished. When I woke up at the hospital, I was pretty freaked out. But, being a swimmer, I was able to put it in perspective.
“The pain now is nowhere near what it was. I went back to school last fall.”
Initially, doctors were skeptical that Konkoly would ever walk again. But, the spirited athlete showed that she is the swimming world’s version of Vinnie Pazienza.
When Pazienza was the junior middleweight world champion, he suffered a broken neck in a car crash and WKH GRFWRUV WROG KLP KH’G nHYHU fiJKW again. After an amazing rehab, Paz made one of boxing’s most incredible comebacks when he returned to the ULnJ IRU VHYHUDO PRUH WLWOH fiJKWV.
Konkoly not only returned to Georgetown for her studies last year, she returned to the pool and swam some exhibition races with the Hoyas’ team. This summer, she competed in the r.S. Paralympics Trials and just missed earning a berth on the national team.
“After red-shirting last year, I hope to swim for Georgetown this year,” said Konkoly, who was a 2010 runnerup for the Triangle Club’s annual Dannehower Award. “My left leg is getting better. It’s still not 100 percent but I’m hoping that it will continue to improve.
“I’m able to functionally navigate stairs. I did another round of rehab this summer at Magee (Rehabilitation HospitalF. My limp is hardly noticeable now — at least I hope it is. I think I’m going past the timetable the doctors expected. I think I blew them away with my swimming.”
Methacton graduate Michelle Konkoly.