A YOUNG swimmer with Down Syndrome from Woodhall Park has been selected to compete in an international competition.

Holly Sullivan practices at Swindon Amateur Swimming Club three times a week and her life-long love of the sport has lead to her representing Great Britain at the Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation's European Championships in Paris later this month.

The 13-year-old is one of the youngest competitors in the Championship, which will be held from October 30 to November 4.

Her father Mike Sullivan was thrilled that Holly would be part of the British team at the event in the French capital.

He said: "It's going to be a wonderful experience for her, it's a huge achievement, my partner Julie Mathers and I are incredibly proud of her.

"This doesn't happen to most people - I wasn't competing for my country at 13 - but Holly's taking it all in her stride and enjoying all the attention from friends and teachers at St Joseph's Catholic College.

"She's competitive, she really enjoys swimming and it gives her a chance to travel around the country - and now the world."

Holly swam at the Oasis before transferring to the Swindon Amateur Swimming Club five years ago and also trains with the Reading Signets, a swimming group for people with learning disabilities.

Mike added: "A few years ago, she started swimming more regularly and began competing.

"We didn't realise how good she was because we were comparing her to other children at the Oasis who were advancing quicker, but she was very successful when competing as a Down Syndrome swimmer.

"She competed in a national competition last year and medalled, which is incredible, and she hit an international trigger time so she was invited to join Down Syndrome Swimming GB's training camp.

"At the end of training, her times were good enough to qualify for the competition in Paris.

"We fly out on the 28th, there's an opening ceremony and a day of training, then the competition starts on the 30th."

Swindon Amateur Swimming Club will celebrate its 140th anniversary next year, making it the third-oldest swimming club in the country.

The club's president Andrea Christmas was delighted with Holly's achievement.

She said: "She's absolutely amazing, she's an example to all, without doubt.

"She loves swimming and she's very rewarding to teach because she clearly enjoys it so much and is so happy to be in the water.

"Holly is dedicated, she listens, she does everything you want from a swimmer in training and can totally hold her own against the other children.

"It's brilliant that she's been chosen for the championships and we're very proud of her.

"Her brother Max and sister Beth are also part of the club, they're all pretty good swimmers."