6 Podcasting Awards in 4 years! Top ranked Swimming Podcast by Chartable/Apple! Inspiration & Insight for Masters Swimmers.
Nov. 30, 2021

Rachael Lilienthal: Swimmer Survives Alligator Attack, Episode #133

Rachael Lilienthal: Swimmer Survives Alligator Attack, Episode #133

Swimming in open water during a date, Rachael Lilienthal felt something brush across her back. At first she thought it was a kayak. Then she realized it was a huge alligator.  Hear what ensues from that point on during this amazing interview.  Did an angel save her life?  Could Rachael relearn everything in her life after losing a limb? Could she do it with a positive attitude?

Alligator-attack survivor and Masters swimmer Rachael Lilienthal joins the show to share the details of her attack, her road to recovery and the silver linings she recognized along the journey. 

Why are alligator attacks on the rise? What can you do to help prevent them? 

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Rachael Lilienthal is a Masters swimmer who was attacked by a 9-foot alligator while swimming in open water in the Wekiva River near Apopka, Florida in 2015. Racheal lost the majority of her right arm in that attack, and almost her life. Rachael continues to swim and recently took home gold in the 200-meter butterfly at the Rowdy Gaines Short Course Meters Masters Classic meet. Rachael is a Spanish professor at Rollins College in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Episode Topics and Mentions

Alligator attack

Rowdy Gaines Short Course Meters Masters Classic 

US Masters Swimming

Rollins College


Death roll


Boston Marathon bombing

Silver linings


Assistive devices



Breast cancer



  1. Be ready for life to be hard. Get your mind, body and life in shape for when it gets hard. 
  2. When things are REALLY hard, stop and ask yourself: Do I really need to do this and in this way?


  1. Look for the little moments of gratitude in each day and over the course of time, your whole life improves. 
  2. Make the decision to “exhale” instead of panic when you are in a stressful situation. 

Quote of the Week

“When we approach the day focusing on things to be grateful for, we have a better day; when we have a lot of better days, we have a better life.” -- Rachael Lilienthal

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From this episode’s sponsor: 

Tim Kafer, the inventor of the ThrowMAX throwing trainer, is also the founder of a network of tournament websites that help sports players find playing opportunities all across the nation. These tournament websites span across 8 different sports like softball, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, etc. and the sign-up is free for a limited period.

Learn more:  



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