NBC 5 Courageous Kids: Aspen Shelton

On land, Aspen Shelton knows her limits. She's legally blind and relies on a cane, however, in the water, it's a completely different story.

"It's a sense of freedom that I don't get around on land. I mean, it's just amazing feeling the water and just a sense of freedom," she said.

Shelton first got a taste of swimming when she was 18 months old, during physical therapy. She was born prematurely, and as a result, was born with a vision disorder called retinopathy of prematurity.

"You know how you stir coffee and the little straw you get? That's what my field of vision is. Then, it's like putting saran wrap or plastic wrap on top,"  she said.

She also has scoliosis, but she continued to swim and when she was in 9th grade, her passion turned into something bigger.

"We found out about the Paralympics and I wanted to get involved and I wanted to go out and meet the Rio team. I got to interact with them all and I was like, 'okay, I really want to do this,'" she said."I went to my first meet in Oklahoma with them in 2017 and I swam. I found out I made the National A team. I was going to Berlin in a couple of months and I ended up going to Berlin and I got a world record."

Since then, Shelton has been competing as a Paralympic swimmer, traveled around the world, breaking records and collecting medals.

"Just because we are disabled doesn't mean we don't work as hard, doesn't mean we are just handed stuff," she said. "We work just as hard, if not harder than all of our able-bodied counterparts."

Now her eyes are set on the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo and hopes her journey to victory will inspire others.

"Have fun with whatever you do and give it your all, because you never know where you're gonna end up,"she said.

Life on land is about to get easier as well. She'll get a guide dog in a few months.

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