Theo St. Francis

Sonoma, CA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mechanical Engineering, Spring 2022

30For Theo, to be on, in or under water is to feel at home. He swam before he could walk, and competed on club swim teams for a decade. He qualified for USA Swimming Speedo Junior Nationals and captained both his club (North Bay Aquatics) and high school (Marin Academy) teams. Theo was recruited by NCAA Division I programs but chose MIT for the academics. During his first week at MIT in 2013, he sustained a C-6 spinal cord injury. After realizing that traditional rehab methods were ineffective for long-term neuromuscular reconnection, he found that a Pilates-based approach offered a revolutionary framework for body-connection. He has worked with movement professionals around the country as well as developed an elaborate home-recovery regimen, including rigging pulley systems to exercise legs and arms simultaneously. Theo teamed-up with his trainer to establish Zebrafish Neuro, under which they will publish the 2nd-edition manual for Pilates-based SCI recovery in mid-2018. He continues to swim, especially in open-water, and returns to his studies full-time thanks to Swim With Mike.

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