A YOUNG Wirral swimmer is stacking up the medals despite undergoing major back surgery last year and having to wear a spinal brace every single day.

Mattie Harding, from Saughall Massie, first took the plunge as a child after seeing his big brother Will succeed in the sport.

The 15-year-old instantly fell in love, with his time in the pool helping his confidence grow, as well as assisting in his recovery from the numerous operations he has had to endure since birth.

Mattie was born with Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, but proud mum Shelly says he has never let it hold him back, with the St Mary’s College student going on to win his first international medal earlier this year.

Shelly said: “Mattie has had to have nine major operations since his birth, the last being major back surgery about 14 months ago.

“He swam at the para-international swimming championships in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago, against many different nationalities and top paralympic swimmers of the world – all a lot older than him.

“He won the youth gold medal in the 50m butterfly with another personal best in the final – his first international medal.”

Mattie, who swims for Wirral Metro, has even managed to gain a place on the England Talent Programme.

Shelly added: “This is even more amazing since he still has not recovered from his back surgery and he has to wear a spinal brace every day to support his back.

“Throughout all his surgeries he has been so brave and courageous and his determination to succeed despite all his setbacks is unbelievable.”