TWO battling super swimmers have scooped gold, silver and bronze medals in disabled and transplant galas.
Hartlepool’s Alice Skinner, who underwent a life-changing transplant in 2008 after she was born without properly formed kidneys, and Callum Stuart, from Peterlee, who is deaf after contracting a childhood illness, both swim for Hartlepool Swimming Club.
And the dedicated pair, who spend hours practising their strokes each week, scooped a clutch of awards at some recent competitions.
Alice, 12, took part in the Transplant Games in Bolton during the summer holidays where she won a silver medal in the 25m front crawl, and a bronze in the 25m back crawl.
And Callum, 12, who attends Shotton Hall Academy, in Peterlee, took part in the Schools Competition for Disabled Swimmers, in Durham in July.
There he won three gold medals for the 25m breast, front and back strokes, and a runner-up silver medal in the butterfly.
Today, their head coach, Ian Bullock, praised the pair for their hard work and determination, and said the medals were the icing on the cake for them.
“We are proud and delighted to have Alice and Callum in the club, that’s the most important thing from my point of view,” he said. “Medals are wonderful for the kids but the fact that they take part and are part of us is just great.
“We do everything we can to help them but we don’t treat them any differently, they work hard just like all the other kids.”
He added: “Whether they were to win medals or not, it’s the taking part and doing their best that counts.
“If you come last but you have tried your best then that’s good enough for me.
“But certainly these two should be very proud of their achievements.”
Alice was Britain’s youngest patient to go on dialysis at the age of six months after she was born with a condition that affects just one baby in a million in the UK.
She underwent 27 major operations before her 12th birthday.