Disabled high school swimmer from Burr Ridge competing at state this weekend

A Burr Ridge teenager is not letting her disability make her a fish out of water when it comes to athletic competition.

Jayne Crouthamel missed two swimming seasons as she was undergoing nearly a dozen brain surgeries. This weekend, she's jumping in head first and competing at state.

"When she gets in the pool...the disability goes away. She’s an athlete like all the rest of them, " said Crouthamel's coach Kate Chronic.

Crouthamel is a University of Chicago Laboratory junior. She was born with congenital hydrocephalus, a condition where cerebral spinal fluid builds up because it can't drain properly. She suffers weakness on her left side and low vision. Her freshman and sophomore swimming seasons were cut short because of serious symptoms caused by her condition.

"That idea that I’m making it here after overcoming all of that, that is what makes it feel even more special to me," Crouthamel said of her upcoming state competition.


Coach Chronic says when Crouthamel was sick, the entire team rallied around her, even skipping practice to pay her a visit in the hospital. She says the support she's received has driven her to never give up.

She offers this advice to others facing a challenge: "Hold tight to the support you’re given through the hard times and allow that to propel you forward to the day when you will be able to make it."