Just as many teenagers might do after a big day, Victoria Arlen recently went on Twitter to share an accomplishment with her friends and followers. The only difference on June 17 was that Arlen's day was quite a bit more impressive than 140 characters could convey. Swimming at the U.S. Paralympic Trials in North Dakota, the 17-year-old set two world records. At the time, she had yet top 100 followers.
Arlen was paralyzed by transverse myelitis in 2006, falling into a vegetative state for two years. Her return to athletic competition -- she told WMUR TV in her native New Hampshire that she was an avid athlete growing up -- is nothing short of inspirational.
“I always felt that I had a lot to live for, that's what kept me going,” Arlen told NewHampshire.com. “I was always just determined to live. I had a really good support system, especially my mom and my dad.”
According to the Bismark Tribune, Arlen swam four events at the Paralympics Trials and is ranked as the world No. 1 or 2 in all those events. Arlen broke the IPC world record in Women's 400-meter and 100-meter freestyle events. She bested Ellie Simmonds' 400m record by nearly 3/4 of a second, according to Channel 4's official Paralympics website. Thanks to her impressive performance, Arlen will be heading to London to represent the United States at the 2012 Paralympics.
The London 2012 Paralympics will begin on August 29th and include more than 4,200 athletes from more than 150 countries.
"[I will] hopefully [win a] medal, but we'll see what happens," Arlen told WMUR after her success at the Trials. "I'm just happy to go there."
Presumably she'll have a more people following her exploits and her tweets by the time she hits the water in London.