Two junior swimming star sisters are overcoming a crippling spinal condition together by hanging like monkeys from a bar.
Talented Eleanor and Naimh Wase have both been diagnosed with scoliosis, curvature of the spine.
Eleanor, 14, was the third fastest schoolgirl swimmer in Britain for her age before the disabling condition forced her to stop.
Her back had twisted into an S shape with a 35-degree angle at the top and 38-degree turn at the bottom.
The youngster had been scouted for the GB squad but doctors warned her body would be unable to cope with six days of training a week and she should quit the sport.
She was even told she would need a metal pole inserted in her back which would have stopped her swimming completely.
But her parents Nicola and Julian opted for an alternative remedy of straightening her spine by hanging monkey-like from wall bars at home for 15 minutes each day.
Eighteen months later, the treatment has worked so well that Eleanor has returned to competitive swimming and won every race since going back.
And last weekend, nearly three years after first being diagnosed with the condition, she achieved a qualifying time to compete at national level – in the 100m BACK stroke.
The brave teen is now helping her younger sister Niamh, 11, overcome the same crippling condition.
Niamh is also a promising swimmer who is hoping to follow in Eleanor’s wake but her spine is currently curved by 16 degrees in one direction.
The two girls each spend 15 minutes a day hanging from the bars at their home in Baldock, Herts. to strengthen their core so their muscles can support their backs.
Eleanor said: “The exercises have really turned my life around.
“Six months is a long time to be out of the water and when I first got back in I thought I could not do it. But I am really proud of how far I have come.
“When I went back to counties this year everyone had forgotten who I was but now I’ve shown them by getting my nationals time back.
“The doctors cannot stop me swimming. But they tell me to be careful and only do what I can and stop if it is painful.
“Even if I get pain I sometimes just ignore it.”
Young Niamh also has a twin sister Esme, but she is showing no sign of the condition, which is thought to be 20 per cent genetic.
Mum Nicola, 50, said: “The girls are growing so there is nothing we can do to stop their curves getting worse.
“Eleanor is really good at doing her exercises every day. And is it nice for her to show Niamh.”
The Scoliosis SOS clinic in Suffolk said: “Overall Eleanor coped well with the exercise programme and will now be monitored throughout puberty to ensure that the curve does not increase.”
Scoliosis affects more than four percent of the population and if left untreated can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.