Blind Navy Vet Shoots for Paralympics

Naval officer looking to make Paralympic swim team

By Andrew Wine
|  Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012  |  Updated 4:06 PM EDT
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Lt. Brad Snyder is aiming for a spot on the U.S. Paralympic swim team at a qualifier Thursday.

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Lt. Brad Snyder is one day away from his chance to be one of the 200 athletes the United States will bring to the Paralympic Games in London this summer.

Snyder will take to the pool in Bismarck, N.D., in the national team’s qualifier Thursday for a shot at the Paralympics.

You wouldn’t notice anything just by looking at him, but soon you’d notice that he can’t look back at you. Snyder was blinded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan late last year while trying to help two Afghan soldiers wounded in another IED explosion.

To qualify Thursday for the games, Snyder and his coach determined that he must swim the 400-meter freestyle in 4 minutes, 48 seconds, and he is eager to prove his abilities to fans.

"I’m going to show people that I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m not going to let blindness build a brick wall around me. I am going to find a way forward," he said in an interview with MSNBC.

Snyder said that he loves the pool and feels at home there.

"In the pool, I feel efficient, comfortable, like I know what I’m doing," he said. "Everything else, I've had to figure out all over again – like being a child.”

The London Paralympic Games will take place from August 29th to Sept. 9th

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