Talk about a triumph of courage. Despite having battled juvenile arthritis for many years, Southwest High School junior Madison Kuznia beat out female swimmers from around the state to snag a spot at state championships.
Kuznia will be racing the 100-yard backstroke on Thursday and Friday.
According to the Minnesota State High School League website , Kuznia came in under the wire at Saturday's qualifying round with a time of 1:00:23. It's around a second slower than the fastest qualifying time for the event, but it's near-average for the group of qualifiers.
Kuznia will be representing her entire team at the championships as she races against 30 other swimmers for the top spot on the podium. If she can get into the top 16 in her event during preliminary races Thursday and Friday, she will make it into the finals on Saturday.
Kuznia's journey to the top swimming competition in Minnesota was long and arduous. As was covered in a Star-Tribune profile last week , Kuznia struggled for several years with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, but swam through the pain as part of her treatment.
"Never at any time did Madison let her team know of the battle and road she has traveled dealing with her illness," her coach told the paper. "She's the type of person that comes to practice every day and gives 100 percent no matter what."