Queens University athlete doesn't let physical challenge limit success

“Swimming means everything to me, it’s a huge part of my life,” said Queens University freshman Hannah Aspden.

It’s been that way for Aspden since she was two-years old. Swimming has given her some of the best moments of her life including four medals at the World Championships and two in Rio.

“Just being up there with my whole team and watching our flag be raised, it was really a feeling that’s so hard to describe but I’ll never forget,” said Aspden.

She will never forget it, because of what she’s been through. Aspden was born without a left leg. Though she loved sports growing up, it was hard to find one that suited her, given her condition.

“I did try some land sports, but I found that in the water, it was a more even playing field,” said Aspden.

She began swimming competitively year round at eight-years old, but it wasn’t always smooth waters.

“There are people who will stare,” she said. “There are people who will wonder, and have questions.”

Hannah has answered those questions every step of the way, from her four medals in the Paralympic and World Games, to earning a spot on the four-time defending NCAA division II championship team at Queens.

“It’s really nice to just be seen as another teammate,” Aspden explained.  

“When you’re in the water it doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have or can and can’t do. Everyone’s just there to swim their own race.”

“Our success this year, will be in a large part already because of Hannah,” said Queens Director of Swimming Operations Jeff Dugdale. “It will be because of what she has proven.”

Aspden has her eyes set on the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo and brining more medals back to the Carolinas.