HERA - Bryall McPherson Paralympic Swimmer

by Aktive
Published on Wednesday 04 August, 2021
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Bryall McPherson had four limbs up until the age of 19, after which her right arm was amputated due to bone cancer. Bryall refers to herself as “an amputee turned Paralympic Swimmer”. The Auckland-born athlete is currently studying sport and recreation at Auckland University of Technology. 

What does it mean to you to be physically active?   

Being physically active gives me a real sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. There’s nothing else I have come across that gives me the boost of endorphins and that ‘feel good’ feeling I get when working out. There’s nothing quite like it! 

What activities did you do before swimming?  

I have been a physically active person my whole life. I was an able-bodied competitive tennis player from the ages of eight to 19. I began playing competitive tennis and practiced swimming on the side to maintain my fitness. Following the amputation of my arm, I switched to swimming so that I could continue to be active and compete as an athlete again. 

How does being physically active make you feel?   

Being physically active makes me feel confident, strong, happy and beautiful! The feeling of getting a good sweat on from working out makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to. 

How do you overcome setbacks? Or what do you do tell yourself when dealing with setbacks?  

Funnily enough, I use physical activity to overcome setbacks. When I work out, I become less stressed. I’m occupied by being physically active and challenging myself rather than focusing on what had me stressed in the first place!  

What are the key factors that have enabled you, and continue to enable you to be physically active?  

My perseverance to never give up when life presents me with challenges. It’s what continues to enable me to be physically active. I’m forever thankful to my parents, coaches and sport – all of which have taught me perseverance. 

My motto is to live my life day-by-day because you don't know what is around the corner! 

What advice would you give young women and girls looking to get physically active?  

My advice would be to try out as many different types of physical activities as you can to find out what works for you. What makes you feel great? 

Once you’ve figure out what you enjoy, get some gear that makes you feel great (and this doesn’t need to be expensive). It really does motivate us females to be physically active – when we look good, we feel good!