The week in Rio de Janeiro changed everything.
Before that, Katie Meili had spent most of her life swimming under the radar, improving steadily but slowly, never going fast enough to draw much attention.
The native Texan wanted to quit after college, but was persuaded to stick around a little longer. It seemed like she came from out of nowhere, making the U.S. team for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Then, during a week of swimming competition at the Games in Brazil, Meili won bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke and helped the Americans to gold in a team relay.
“It was a dream come true,” she says. “I was at a place where I could walk away from the sport.”