Aimee Bruder — A Passionate Swimmer With Cerebral Palsy

Aimee has always been an avid swimmer.

Aimee has always been an avid swimmer.

Editor’s Note:  37 year old Aimee Bruder has had cerebral palsy all her life. She qualified for her sixth Paralympic Games this year. She attended her first Paralympic Games in 1992. She competes in the freestyle, the breast stroke, the individual medley and the backstroke. She won three bronze medals in the Atlanta Paralympic Games, a silver medal from the Sydney, Australia Paralympic Games and a bronze medal at China. She qualified in North Dakota on June 14th – 16th, 2012, to swim the 50 meter backstroke for her classification. Athletes with cerebral palsy compete according to the amount of function they have. The highest functioning athletes are classified as S10. The athletes with the least amount of physical function are classified as S1. All her classifications were deleted this year, so she has moved up to a higher classification and will be swimming the 100 freestyle, the 200 freestyle, and the 100 breast stroke in the S5 classification. However, she still will be able to swim the backstroke in the S4 classification. Part 1 of a 5 part series.

This year’s 2012 Paralympic Games will see the largest field of athletes ever assembled for the Games, which have been taking place since 1960. There will be more than 4,000 athletes from 160 countries competing in this year’s games. Bruder will be competing against people with more function than she has, but the Paralympic Games are an opportunity for athletes to go out of country and enjoy the experience of competing against athletes from other countries. “I thought since I qualified and will have to swim most of my races on a higher level, I should go,” Bruder says. From the time she can first remember, Bruder has been swimming. Everyone in her immediate family swims. “Swimming was one thing we all could do together as a family, and during the summer we almost lived in the water. I still love swimming to this day.”Bruder lived in a subdivision in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and she went to school at East Central High School in Saint Leon. During Bruder’s childhood years, the subdivision where she lived had a swimming pool and a competitive team, so Bruder joined the swim team. Then, when she got to high school, her brother made the high school swim team. So, Bruder swam and worked out on the same team. Her sisters followed her into the pool when they went to high school.

Aimee's family never treated her any differently because she had CP. They supported and encouraged her to keep swimming!

Aimee’s family never treated her any differently because she had CP. They supported and encouraged her to keep swimming!

“Swimming was just something the Bruders did,” Aimee Bruder explains. “I joined the swim team my junior year in high school and competed against able bodied swimmers. Although I always finished last, the point of swimming for me was to have fun and to improve my time. I knew I was racing other people, but if my times got better I’d win. Swimming with my family and able bodied swimmers was the best thing I could have done, because I always was treated like everyone else. And, I had the same training opportunities as my peers. I never really felt different, because I could swim, and I was a part of the team.”

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Next: Aimee Bruder’s Challenges With Cerebral Palsy And School

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

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