High school student Rachel Grusse’s legs were amputated when she was a little more than a year old, but that doesn’t stop her from realizing her dream of being a champion swimmer.
Grusse, a senior, is a perennial contender in the state of Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reported.
“To me, it’s normal,” Grusse said. “I’m so used to not having legs, that I kind of forget that it’s not normal.”
Grusse, who was born without a spleen, developed a case of pneumonia as a baby. The disease cut blood flow to her extremities and the toddler was forced to have both legs amputated at the kneecaps.
Swimming isn’t the only sport Grusse participates in – she plays soccer and wheelchair basketball. But, swimming is her passion.
Learning to swim at the age of 2, Grusse is unable to kick like most other swimmers, so she has to rely on her upper body. She is also unable to spring off a diving board, which means she has to use other means to propel herself at the start of a race.
“I don’t see her as a swimmer without legs,” said Grusse’s coach Suzi Hoyt. “I see her as a swimmer. . . . She never says: ‘Why me? Why can’t I?’ That’s really special. She’s special.’’