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Robin Scott-Elliot meets the Plymouth schoolgirl who is the fastest breaststroker ever – famous in Lithuania but unknown here.
Ruta Meilutyte points through a grey winter morning towards a large building visible above the surrounding houses on a neighbouring hill. It’s the pool where she trains, and trains, and trains. And then trains some more.
“I get up at 4.50am, have a little breakfast and get my stuff ready for school and swimming,” says Meilutyte. “I start swimming at 5.30am pretty much every morning of the week. All the swimming sessions are two hours and 15 minutes. I get to school at 8.30am. School finishes at half three and then I head back to the pool and finish between six and seven. Then it is homework, eat and sleep.”
The next morning it starts all over again. The morning after our meeting she tweets: “Those mornings when all you want to do is go back to sleep but you choose to go to the pool instead are the ones that count the most.”