The 30-year-old swimmer traces the cause of her struggles to her parent's divorce when she 12.
Beard hit puberty soon after, going through a growth spurt that added 6 inches and 30 pounds to her slender frame.
Normal for most girls, it was disastrous for a swimmer.
He continued his international career at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, winning the silver medal in the 1500 m freestyle, but only managing fifth at the 1998 World Aquatics Championships.
In 1999 he had a much better Pan Pacific Championships winning silver in the 1500 m freestyle, and bronze in the 400 m and 200 m freestyle.
The pair met at the University of Arizona where she was a freshman and Neethling was a senior and began dating in 1999.