As she sat on the bank of the Guadalquivir river in Seville having finished fourth in the 10km race at the World Open Water Championships in early May, Natalie du Toit, the South African amputee swimmer, began to cry.
She had qualified for the Olympics, her life-long dream, which many thought had ended when a car crushed her leg in an accident in 2001.
Last week she had that dream confirmed when she was officially named in the South African Olympic team for Beijing, the first amputee athlete to take part with the able-bodies in the Olympic Games.
But this week the 24-year-old Du Toit was faced with another hurdle that is directly affecting her preparations for the 10km open water swim at the Beijing Games on August 20. She cannot find a 50-metre heated pool at altitude in her home country in which to train.
While many of her competitors are training in the rarefied air of Chile, Du Toit has been struggling to get in her required 20km a day in a 25-metre pool in Johannesburg.
The size of the pool means she is making twice the number of turns in training, which, she told a South African newspaper, has resulted in her "taking the skin off my toes".
It is a blow for an athlete who has only half the leg propulsion of her rivals, but those who know Du Toit will tell you that she will struggle on regardless.
Her strength of spirit since the 2001 accident has seen her become an icon in her home country. She was voted 48th in a list of Great South Africans in 2004.
Born and bred in Cape Town, Du Toit was an international swimmer at the age of 14, taking part in the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
She almost qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics in three events. Then, in February 2001, Du Toit was riding her scooter in Cape Town when a car pulled out of a parking lot and crashed into her left leg.
As she lay on the road, Du Toit knew what had happened: "I kept saying, ‘I’ve lost my leg, I’ve lost my leg,’ " said Du Toit. Doctors tried for days to save the leg, but despite the amputation Du Toit was swimming again by May.
At the age of 18 she took part in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and won both the 50-metre and 100-metre multi-disability races.
She became the first disabled athlete to qualify for the final of an able-bodied event, taking part in the 800-metre race. She won the David Dixon Award at the closing ceremony as the most outstanding athlete at the games.
Du Toit won gold in the 800-metre at the 2003 All-Africa Games, but narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Athens Olympics.
She was a star at the Athens Paralympics, however, and won five gold and one silver medal there. At the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 she again won the 50-metre and 100-metre races.
"I don’t even think of one leg, two legs," said Du Toit. "When you’re racing in an able-bodied competition you’re all equal and you go out there and try your best, and that’s what counts.
"Swimming is my passion and something that I love. Going out there in the water, it feels as if there’s nothing wrong with me. I go out there and train as hard as anybody else.
"I have the same dreams, the same goals. It doesn’t matter if you look different. You’re still the same as everybody else because you have the same dream."
The 10km open water race is making its Olympic debut in Beijing and there are few betting against Du Toit being a star on her debut at the Games, despite her training difficulties. She finished just 5.1 seconds behind the winner in the Open Water Championships in Seville. She has already overcome greater hurdles.