A former competitive swimmer and water-polo player set her mind on becoming a certified deep-water lifeguard. 

After successfully completing weeks of rigorous training and testing, according to Refinery 29, the 24-year-old server from Orlando, Florida was told her size would prevent her from actually getting the job. 

Courtney Harrough has dealt with doubt and snide comments from others about her body for ages.

"A woman my height, but three times smaller than me, said, 'I find it hard to believe you were an athletic swimmer,'" Harrough told Refinery. 


All too familiar with the skepticism others had about her body, Harrough has worked to prove others wrong for quite some time. 

"If you're a plus-size woman presenting to a company, not just for an athletic-based career, you face a stigma that if you're fat, you're lazy."

Still, when Harrough beat the choppy waters of lifeguard training, her employers presented her with an unexpected "obstacle."

"When I went through training, I passed, and there was no question as to what my weight could do. But when it came time for actually implementing my job, they had no uniform for me. They said, 'You don't look like a regular lifeguard, we're going to have to pull you from your job.' I said, 'I'm sorry, you're not going to pull me. If my weight was such an aesthetic issue, you would've seen it, because I've been half-naked in a swimsuit. If you knew you couldn't accommodate, you shouldn't have put me through this. And you're not going to fire me, because that's discrimination. We're going to figure out how to get it done.'"

Ultimately Harrough was offered the position as a lifeguard, but had to make her own way as far as her uniform.

"I had to wear my own swimsuit, which I bought [with money] out of my own pocket. They gave me a men's shirt, and I had to purchase my own shorts because they weren't willing to reimburse. They said, 'We never assumed a person of your size would want a job like this.' I said, 'Oh good.'"

When it comes to having body confidence on the job, Harrough's advice is this:

"Breathe and remember that your body has never been in the way. It got you here, wherever you find yourself. Your body is your biggest ally, it keeps you safe and alive. It harnesses all the things you want to accomplish, and it's your friend. Whoever doesn't see it like that isn't your friend, so go find new ones."