London, March 30: She might be just three years old, but Leah Robbins is already a big name in the world of swimming - by setting a new British record of swimming 500 metres. The Gorleston-born water baby was just 13 months old when she passed her 5m badge - a UK record.
Two months later, Leah got her certificates for swimming 10 metres and 25 metres. Last April, she gained her certificate for swimming 50 metres at the Kingfisher Holiday Park pool in Burgh Castle, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Then she swam 400 metres at the age of three years and nine months. "She actually swam 500 metres, even though it was for the 400 metres. We don't push her - she does it because she loves it," the Mirror quoted Kay Masters, Leah's mother and instructor, as saying. "She was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, although they won't publish it because they don't want parents trying to beat it and chucking their kids in the pool when they are really young," she added. Now, the wonder kid has her sights firmly set on a professional career when she grows up after achieving her latest milestone. Leah is looking to add the 800m badge to her growing collection of swimming achievements before her fourth birthday.
A spokeswoman for the Amateur Swimming Association said that they had not heard of any younger child getting a 400-metre certificate. "We do not keep records of the ages that children are when they get certificates. She might well be the youngest to have achieved 400 metres," the spokeswoman said. "It is great that she is getting involved in swimming and we want to congratulate her.
"It is a real achievement for a child to swim such a distance. If Leah continues to follow our programme and improves and develops her stroke technique, she could have real potential for the future," she added.