Making her debut at the Tokyo Paralympics, Team USA swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger won a silver medal in the women’s SM7 200m individual medley final with a time of 3:02:82. She came in just behind fellow US swimmer Mallory Weggemann, who won gold with a time of 2:54.25.
Lettenberger was born with arthrogryposis and bilateral hip dysplasia, which affects the range of motion she has in her lower limbs. She began her swimming career in 2001 (at 11 years old) and started competing in para swimming in 2012.
She’s shared with the International Paralympic Committee that her “hips are dislocated. My knees only bend to 90 degrees and my ankles don’t move at all.” In the SM7 classification, this means Lettenberger can use her arms and trunk while swimming but can’t use her legs.
When it comes to swimming, she said, “I love the freedom the water gives me. When I’m in the water, it’s just like I’m like everybody else.” Ahead, see photos of Lettenberger’s big silver win.