Young swimmer sets sights on Paralympics

9:17 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A Twin Cities boy born with Spina Bifida is intent on becoming a champion.

It's that determination that has already led 12-year-old Shane Swanson to set national swim records.

On Sunday, Shane set a pair of records at the National Junior Disability Championships in Rochester. He finished the 100 meter backstroke in a record time of 4.02 and the 100 freestyle in a record time of 3.44.

"I was like, 'I hope I get this national record,'" Shane said.

After only three years of competition, Shane credits watching last year's Olympic Games as a turning point for him.

"I was just amazed by what Michael Phelps could do," he said. "And that's what got me motivated about getting that national record."

His records are evening more amazing considering last fall, he spent days in the hospital. A routine surgery turned into a 65-day stay in the hospital because of an infection. But he fought his way back just like he always has.

"He's got all the abilities in the world. He just gets around wheeling wheels instead of walking like most people," said Wendy Swanson, Shane's mother.

Shane says it's his dream to swim in the Paralympics. His coach says his dedication to the sport could get him there.

"I really think the sky's the limit for Shane," Shane's coach said. "His progress has been remarkable, coming through surgery being a novice swimming, he's progressed very rapidly through his dedication."

Shane swam as part of the Courage Center's Blizzard Swim Team. Eight swimmers from the group competed. Several of Shane's teammates set records as well.

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