Victoria Arlen reflects on her 'Dancing With the Stars' experience

The athlete was eliminated earlier this week.

ByABC News
November 17, 2017, 5:21 PM

— -- Victoria Arlen is just 23 years old and has already checked some major goals off her bucket list, including being a contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

Before Arlen's elimination earlier this week with her pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy, the dancing duo performed the Charleston and completed a contemporary routine that was dedicated to her parents.

They finished the latter performance with a score of 27, but failed to advance past the semifinals.

Arlen and Chmerkovskiy recently spoke with ABC News about their time on "Dancing with the Stars." Arlen said her time as an Olympic athlete contributed to her success on the show.

"My swim coach was very tough on me and I respond well to that training... being pushed to my limit," Arlen said, discussing how Chmerkovskiy pushed her to perfect her dance routine.

Arlen dedicated a lot of time -- approximately four to five hours a day -- to learning her new craft. She said she took the discipline that she had as an athlete and applied it to dancing.

She said she always looks to perform at the highest possible level and "when [she doesn’t] meet that goal, it's devastating."

Arlen developed a competitive spirit early. When she was 11, she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which took away her ability to speak, eat and walk for years.

After a miraculous recovery, she won a gold medal in swimming at the 2012 Summer Paralympics and was hired by ESPN as an on-air talent before joining "Dancing With the Stars."

Chmerkovskiy quickly realized that Arlen was an athletic dancer with a commitment to excellence.

"Athletes don't take the process personally, and that makes it awesome ... they're coachable," he said. "Their competitive nature was secondary to their humility and them as people."

Chmerkovskiy also praised Arlen's character.

“This is the next million-dollar baby story," he said. "There's an Oscar in her future."

Arlen told ABC News she is open to whatever opportunity life presents next, whether or not that includes dancing. Next year, she will check off another box off her bucket list when her new book is published.

Related Topics