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Lewis back in the swim

PUBLISHED: 08:29 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 13 July 2010

Lewis Hughes in typical action.

Lewis Hughes in typical action.

PROMISING teen swimmer Lewis Hughes has overcome a major obstacle at the start of the year and is back on course for future podium success.

Last Christmas Lewis, 14, was laid up with the shingles virus which kept him out of the pool for a month and curtailed his rigorous training programme for three months.

PROMISING teen swimmer Lewis Hughes has overcome a major obstacle at the start of the year and is back on course for future podium success.

Last Christmas Lewis, 14, was laid up with the shingles virus which kept him out of the pool for a month and curtailed his rigorous training programme for three months.

Despite the setback, Lewis, of Station Road, North Walsham, managed to improve his national standing in July, finishing 11th overall in Great Britain, compared to 17th in 2007. The Aylsham High School pupil qualified for seven events at the championships, finishing seventh in the 400m individual medley.

This year has also seen him win the county championships and come fourth in the East of England championships.

And sports all-rounder Lewis has also found time to represent his school at county cross- country and Norfolk schools' aquathon (swimming and running) events, coming second in the under-14s' category, and second in the East region championships.

Now Lewis, whose father Peter was born in Wales, is trying to register with the Welsh Swimming Association to help him gain greater experience.

His times would place him higher up the Welsh rankings, opening the possibility that he could be chosen for Wales' European or Commonwealth squads.

Meanwhile his demanding training regime continues, with nine weekly visits to the UEA pool. On days when Lewis fits in two training sessions, he and his father leave home at 4.45am for pre-school coaching, and are not home until 8.30pm following an after-school session.

GB and Olympic coach Dave Calleja has described Lewis' attitude and approach to training as “outstanding”.

Lewis has been a part of the England Talent and Development Programme for two years but believes he will not be ready to compete at Olympic level until the 2016 games.

So far teenage distractions have not proved too tempting and he has been known to turn down social and other sporting invitations in favour of swimming commitments - although his dad says that when he's not in the pool, he's on the computer. Lewis said: “For me to feel a big sense of achievement I think I would have to do really well at the nationals. So far my best finish at the nationals hasn't been good enough for me.”

Lewis received a £600 grant from the Norfolk Youth Fund this year and the family would like to hear from any business or individual able to support the cost of travel, training, equipment and competitions as he strives for national and international success. Contact Peter Hughes on 07747 848300.


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