Sometimes, it only takes one moment to completely change a person’s life – and for record holder Carrie Swidecki, that moment was the first time she stepped onto a Dance Dance Revolution platform.
For those who don’t know, Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is choreography-based arcade game that allows users to hit colored arrows on the floor that match the rhythm and movement of the virtual characters on a screen.
Found in many arcades, kids and adults often play as a way to showcase their dance skills, but for Carrie, it was a gateway to her weight loss journey.
Since stepping onto her first machine, Carrie’s story has led her to accrue several gaming Guinness World Records titles, including:
- Longest videogame marathon
- Longest videogame marathon on a dance game
- Longest videogame marathon on a Just Dance game
- Longest videogame marathon on a rhythm game
- Longest videogame marathon on a motion-sensing dance game
- Most high scores achieved on a dance videogame series in 24 hours
However, the amount of effort, dedication and passion it took to obtain these titles starts from her initial interaction with the dance game sports.
About 20 years ago, Carrie weighed 210 pounds and was a size 18-20, a result of gaining 90+ pounds over the span of six years after she graduated high school.
She never imagined how she might try to go back to her original weight, but it only took a few steps on the DDR machine before she became inspired by the challenge in front of her.
Her dedication ended up paying off nine years later when she won third place and had lost 75 pounds with all the practicing she had done to place in a tournament.
The results led her to become a representative for fighting childhood obesity via dance games, and even made a few positive changes in her classroom.
As a teacher who had experienced the health benefits of DDR, Carrie was able to receive grants to obtain gaming equipment for her students to get them excited for fitness.
“It was the most amazing experience in my teaching career. For the 1st time my students were excited and completely engaged in physical education. They couldn't stop talking about Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance. I had never seen this before. I even had parents calling me up and asking if they could come and dance with their child during PE."
After setting a new record at the US Obesity Prevention Summit, Carrie was hooked and continued to use the motivational campaign she had started to break even more titles.
To date, Carrie has now set thirteen Guinness World Records titles which includes a marathon record in which she danced for an impressive 138 hours – that’s nearly six days!
She has incorporated charity fundraising into her record breaking, and has managed to raise over $100,000 for her local children’s hospital.
Now, Carrie’s priorities have shifted to reflect the age demographic she falls into, which is mostly parents of children who need video games that fit into a high-demand and busy life.
Her goal is for everyone to be able to use gaming everywhere as a tool for fitness and being more engaged with a community.