Essex brother and sister to represent GB swimming team

Two sibling Paralympic swimming hopefuls from Essex are to compete alongside each other for Great Britain for the first time.

Emma Hollis, 19, and brother James, 17, from Theydon Bois, will both take part in the IPC Swimming European Championships in Berlin next week.

It will be the first time James has swum at senior level for his country.

He said: "I'm happy I'm there with her because she's done it before so I can rely on her helping me a bit."

He added: "I always wanted it [to happen] and I'm sure Emma always wanted it.

Image caption Older sister Emma hopes to better her silver and bronze medal performances of 2009

"I think the fact we have both done whatever we could to get where we want to be meant this was always hopefully going to happen."

The pair, who have brittle bones, began swimming at an early age after doctor's suggested it would help to protect their bones by building up muscle.

Their mother, Alison, said it would be a proud moment for the family.

She said: "It's really nice for a change to get them both somewhere at the same time. Usually one's got an injury, or one has broken something.

"So to get them to both have a good competition at the same time will be really exciting."

At the 2009 European championships, Emma claimed a silver and three bronze medals and is hopeful of making the British team for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Younger brother James believes his Paralympic chance will come "maybe next year or maybe in five years."

He said that while they always tried to support one another, there was also the usual sibling rivalry.

He said: "She was always a little bit quicker than me when I was younger because she was that bit older.

"But I did like the day when I beat her for the first time and enjoyed the occasions after that when I beat her again.

"So there was always rivalry, we always wanted to do something before the other one."

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