Deb Gruen
Deb Gruen
Year: Junior
Hometown: Hamden, Conn.
High School: Hamden Hall Country Day School
Position: Breaststroke/Freestyle

Deb has competed for Hamden North Haven for the past twelve years and qualified for her first United States National Disability Championships at the age of 12. At the meet, held in Indianapolis, she set her first National Record in the 100 butterfly. She went on to qualify for the 2002 IPC Swimming World Championships in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, where she finished 4th in the 400m Freestyle, 5th in the 50m Butterfly, and 6th in the 100m Breastroke.

After two years of training Deb earned a spot on the 2004 U.S. Paralympic Team. At the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece she won a bronze medal in the 100m Breastroke. Her most memorable experience in swimming was watching the United States flag being raised during the medal ceremony for the Breastroke, and looking out into the stands to see the supporting faces of her team and family.

This past summer, Deb set new world records in the 1500m Freestyle and the 200m Breastroke at the 2006 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

In high school, Deb was the Valedictorian of her class and was twice named a USA Scholastic All-American. She was also a member of the Cum Laude Society, and a recipient of the Rensselaer Medal, the Yale Book Award, and the Governor's Coalition for Youth with Disabilities Award. She was also a two-time CT Scholar Athlete, and was named a 2006 New Haven Register Youth of the Year.

Deb chose Yale because of its friendly atmosphere, abundance of teamwork, and excellent combination of athletics and academics. Although she has lived in the neighboring town of Hamden her entire life, she is still astonished by how beautiful the campus is on the inside of each Residential College.

Her sister, Michele, is a senior at the University of Rochester where she is an American Sign Language major, and member of the Varsity Swim Team. Her mother, Susan, is the Town Attorney of Hamden, and her father, Jeff, is a Neonatalogist and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Genetics, and Investigative Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.