Legally blind Aledo High School swimmer sets records

A retinal condition left an Aledo swimmer legally blind, but it is not stopping her breaking world swimming records.

16-year-old Aspen Shelton's condition, which stems from her premature birth, has left her with almost no peripheral vision. Shelton was born weighing just a pound and a half.

Now, Shelton dominates in the pool.

"It gives me a sense of freedom," she said. "And it makes me have an equal playing field with people who have vision. Whenever I'm in the water, the clock doesn't care if you're disabled or not."

Shelton's parents did not let her disability change the way they raised her.

"We didn't treat her differently," Aspen's mother, Vicki Shelton said. "We didn't say 'oh you have a problem.' She never knew she couldn't see her peripherals because we didn't talk about it. I think that's why she functions so well."

Shelton will be a junior at Aledo High School where she has already went to the UIL state meet with her team. She has also dominated in Paralympic competition; setting a world record for the 200 backstroke in a recent event in Berlin. She also holds several American records.

"Just to be with people who have disabilities like me and we don't care about the disability," she said. "We just go out and swim our best and have fun. It doesn't matter to us."

Shelton's parents are thrilled that her hard work is paying off.

"Just to see her persevere like this is wonderful," said Aspen's father, Chad Shelton.

"She's worked so hard. And I know that she has to work harder than other swimmers just to get where they're at. It's amazing," Vicki Shelton said.

Now, Aspen's goals are to swim in college and make the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

She also offered some advice for other disabled aspiring athletes.

"Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something," she said. "And just do what you love."