Two-year-old Joseph Daly was taken into special care as soon as he was born and had to undergo a heart operation when he was just three months old.
But now brave Joseph, of Blackheath, Pound Hill, has been named a Little Hero and won a national award by toddler swim school Water Babies for his incredible accomplishments in the water.
Joseph’s problems were first discovered when his parents were told at their 20 week scan that their son had a defect in his heart wall.
He underwent an operation to fit a pulmonary band to reduce blood flow and stress on his heart - and underwent another op when he was nine months old.
His mum Jemma said: “The pulmonary band was a temporary measure and doctors told us that swimming would be really beneficial to develop Joseph’s upper body strength and core muscles, as he had missed out on important ‘tummy time’ due to his surgery.
“Despite having a feeding tube in place, Joseph was able to start swimming lessons at seven months of age and he loved it from the word go. It really helped him learn to push up on his elbows and roll over.”
Joseph’s surgery has proved successful but he will have to be monitored for the rest of his life.