EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Olympic games are now more than a year away, but for many athletes, the pursuit of a dream won’t stop there.

That is true for Arkansas native Hayden Harlow who has had to endure more than just a dream being delayed.

At nine years old, swimming became Harlow’s passion. However, soon after he dove into swimming he discovered a heart problem.

He persisted through the problem for roughly one year.

“I picked him up from practice one day and he said ‘mom my heart hurts,” Tracy Halow, Hayden’s mother said.

Harlow had to undergo a five hour surgery at 14 years old.

Luckly, the surgery was successful and years later as a high school senior Harlow was given a scholarship to Penn State University.

“Going to the Olympic trials is kind of that ultimate goal because it gives you that opportunity to have a chance of making the Olympic Team,” Harlow said.

Nothing is enough to keep Harlow away from his dreams, and despite the pandemic, Hayden says he is eyeing a senior lap in the pool culminating with the Olympic trials now next year.