Kayla Wheeler's parents always told her that she could do anything she wanted. They just might have to figure out a different way for her to do it.
So as Wheeler, who was born with only one arm and no legs, grew up, she stayed as active (if not moreso) than many of her peers. Now 16, Wheeler bowls, skis, plays baseball and is a champion swimmer.
When Wheeler was younger, a doctor recommended swimming lessons for her as a form of therapy. Wheeler's mother, Joyce, never thought her daughter would learn to swim, much less go on to become one of the best Paralympic swimmers in the world.
"As an infant she loved the water," Joyce Wheeler told ABC News. "I guess I never thought she would learn how to swim, but I just wanted her to be safe around the water."
Wheeler recently set the world record for the 50-meter butterfly, and last year she even qualified for the London Paralympics (she couldn't go because there weren't enough competitors).
"It's kind of indescribable," Kayla's mother, Joyce, told Fox 12 of the sensation of seeing her daughter represent her country. "When they announce her name and she's representing the United States I get goose bumps all over. I'm so amazed that's my child."
Wheeler is preparing for the International Paralympic World Championships in August in Montreal. But like many high school juniors, she's also getting ready to attend college. Wheeler is a stellar student at Edmonds Community College, and she's on the Rocketry and Robotics Team.
"I like being able to represent my country," Wheeler said. "That's amazing breaking records and getting medals, but I like being out there as a role model too."