SWIMMER Beth Hartwell battled illness yet still competed in a national competition and is now number 20 in Britain for open water swimming.
In only her second competitive open water event, she was suffering from a painful ear infection, but undeterred complete the age 12 1,500m swim at Rother Valley Lake in Sheffield.
The Haslingden High School Year 7 student is now aiming even higher next year – she wants to win another place in the national open water finals and is also hoping to swim in the English and British indoor competitions.
She is dedicated to her sport getting up at 4am in order to attend swimming lessons at 5.30am six days a week.
Beth, 12, swims in the school team and is also a member of Pioneer 79 in Accrington.
She tried open water swimming only recently because her mum Cath was determined to take on an ironman challenge.
She said: “I had really bad earache and it really hurt and so I didn’t have much sleep at the hotel we were staying at in Sheffield. Despite all that, it went really well and I finished in 20th place overall.
“I felt really good when I got the result and it was a real achievement for me to go there and to finish well and not be last place.
“Even though my ear hurt, I was never not going to complete the swim. I finished the 1,500m race in 21 minutes 18 seconds.
“The water was really warm, too warm really, and must have been 25C where as I prefer it to be colder. We did get a warm up session of 15 minutes in the water before the race this time and that helped to prepare you.”
Her mum Cath said: “After a night of very limited sleep due to the ear and heat she got in the water and swam regardless of her pain. She was actually sick in the water on her first lap, but still carried on.
“We are all very proud of her for carrying on despite her illness. She did have a great experience which has spurred her on to try to qualify for next year.”