HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Seven-year-old Eliza Wilder was born with a rare spinal defect known as spina bifida, however, that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a champion swimmer.

Spina bifida occurs in about one in every 2,000 live births in the U.S., according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It’s described as a birth defect where an area of the spinal column doesn’t form properly, leaving a section of the spinal cord and spinal nerves exposed through an opening in the back.

While spina bifida affects each person differently, in Eliza’s case, she does not have any function in the lower half of her body. But, her spinal defect hasn’t kept her down – and it certainly hasn’t deterred her from going for her goals.

In July, she won six gold medals at the Hartford Nationals in Hoover, Ala. in swimming, defying the odds. Hartford Nationals is the largest and longest-standing sports national championship for athletes with physical, visual and/or intellectual disabilities.

“It [swimming] was never on our radar I think, in fact, for parents with a kid with spina bifida you’re told a lot of things your child will never do or will not do but she’s really defied the odds in all of that,” Sarah Wilder, Eliza’s mother told News 19.

Eliza takes dance classes, excels in school and thrives in the pool, proving there is nothing she can’t do. But swimming is what she loves.

“I like that my body moves different than when I’m on land,” Eliza said.

Her favorite style of swim is freestyle. “I just like you get to breathe when you want,” Eliza added.

And after winning six gold medals last month, she has big goals for her future in the pool. “I want to go to the Paralympics,” Eliza said.

At just seven years old, she’s got a few years before the Paralympics are ready for her. But her father, James Wilder, can’t wait for those days and is inspired every day by his daughter’s perseverance.

“It’s kind of funny, people always ask who you’re hero is and I realize that she does more just getting through the day than I will probably do in a month,” James said. “If I could have half her determination, I would go really far.”

“It’s a testament to people with disabilities, you can’t count them out,” Sarah added.

As far as the Paralympics go, Sarah told News 19 that they actually were contacted by a Team USA coach about the 2024 games, so who knows what the future holds for Eliza… but it certainly looks bright!