Theresa Andrews had been one of America’s premier Backstrokers by the time of the l984 Olympic trials, and then even at the Games themselves, but no one would have known it from the lack of advance publicity outside of the Baltimore media. Even though Wendy Weinberg had been one of only a few American women to earn a medal in l976, Baltimore still wasn’t taken seriously in elite circles. All that was to change ultimately in only the 1:02.55 minutes that Theresa used to win Baltimore’s first Olympic Gold Medal in swimming ever.
Accomplishments like these take time however. The time that Theresa spent with the Navy Junior Program developing as an Age Group Swimmer. The time that Bob Thompson, then Navy Assistant (now Coach of Duke) spent to bring her to a National Junior Title in Santa Clara in l978. The time that Theresa sacrificed to live in Baltimore and swim with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. The time university coaches at Indiana and Florida continued to school her in top level swimming. And finally, the time that Theresa took to train simultaneously for Olympic Trials and to help care for her brother Danny’s rehabilitation from a spinal injury.
Major milestones for Theresa include a Fifth at the l980 Trials, a first for Baltimore, a U.S. National Title in l981, seven Big Ten Titles in her college Freshman season and being part of two American record (scy) relays for Florida.
Neither Theresa’s career involvement in swimming or her committed care for the sick and needy ended in l984. She is in demand as a speaker and makes twelve or more speaking engagements a year for swimming. And in her profession as a Clinical Pediatric Social Worker, she serves those like Danny Andrews who need immediate care and guidance in health and life adjustments. Clearly, Theresa Andrews’ Gold Medal still shines its light on all of us.