Rachael Williamson says winning the HotShots Award has given her the extra motivation and confidence to keep striving for the top in the sport of swimming.”

The 14-year-old Anlaby resident became the fifth winner of the Mail's annual award to the top junior sporting star in the region for that year.”

The 2009 winner was chosen by a panel of sporting experts as the HotShot of the Year after making her big breakthrough by winning a bronze medal at the European Youth Olympics in Finland over the summer in the 800m freestyle.”

The Kingston upon Hull Swimming Club star has now had time to reflect on her award honours, but remains shocked she was the one handed the shield at a surprise ceremony in September.”

She told HotShots: “It is still kind of weird to think that I won the award as there were so many good athletes that were up against me for it and yet I got it.”

“I'm proud of the award. You don't get to think back much in my sport as it's always on to the next thing.”

“So it's nice to have this as is helps me remember what a good year I had.”

“It gave me that extra motivation to go on and try to achieve even more good things in the sport in the future and boosted my confidence to keep pushing myself on every single day.”