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Normal for most girls, it was disastrous for a swimmer.
Her body's changes made her slower in the water and she lost races, generating whispers on the pool deck and the horrible feeling that she was letting people down.
(AP) Amanda Beard is happily married and a proud mom, finally at peace after years of struggling at various times with depression, bulimia, drug abuse and toxic relationships with famous men while feeling unworthy of the swimming success that made her an Olympic medalist at 14.
Beard kept her physical and emotional turmoil hidden behind a huge smile, revealing little to her family, friends and coaches while she distracted herself from the pain with swimming.
Those things just kind of built off each other." Beard started drinking in high school, when she hated her looks and felt unlovable.
Beard recounts her ups and downs in the 245-page memoir "In the Water They Can't See You Cry" released this week.
The 30-year-old swimmer traces the cause of her struggles to her parent's divorce when she 12.
"It started with my parents' divorce, the pressure I put on myself after the `96 Olympics, not dealing with puberty.
All of those things I just constantly pushed down and tried not to deal with.
Her mother moved out and Amanda lived with her father in their Irvine, Calif., home.Her two older sisters were already out of the house.