LUKE Nixon excels in his sport.
Still only 16, he is one of a promising batch of youngsters representing Wrexham Swimming Club and has competed for the club at both district and national level.
Luke currently holds eight short course and eight long course Welsh records and has also represented Wales and Great Britain all over the world, from Germany to Taiwan.
The youngster from Rossett has just completed his UKCC Level 1 Teaching Aquatics and is awaiting the result of the exam. He also has a qualification in sailing, scuba diving and mini-polo, all achieved while studying for his GCSEs.
All the more remarkable because Luke is partially deaf.
Far from letting his disability hold him back, the teenager is now helping other disabled swimmers through the Swim Ability Stage 5+ sessions at Rhosnesni Leisure Centre for young children with hearing impairments.
Luke is able to help swimmers by providing support in the water as well as acting as an excellent role model for the children.
He has attended this session every week after school for the past six months even though many of the sessions followed his GCSE exams.
The sessions are suitable swimmers aged eight to 16 years with a disability who have completed either stage 4 or can swim 20m on two different strokes, working primarily on stroke and stamina development over long distances.
As well as swimming Luke has a great passion for surfing, windsurfing and sailing and has completed qualifications within a range of aquatic sports.
It was because of his desire to ‘ride the waves’ that he got into swimming in the first place.
He explained: “When I was four years old I wanted to have a go at body boarding in Cornwall but my mum said ‘no’, not until I’d learned to swim.
“People have said in the past that I was a really strong swimmer from the start. I’ve always liked the water and when i was six, my mum took me to a coach in Plas Madoc. I joined Wrexham Swimming Club when I was nine and I started competing about six months later.”
It wasn’t long before Luke’s promise was seen on an international level.
“I got in touch with Great Britain Deaf Swimming and I started swimming for the Welsh deaf swimming team. I went to the 2009 Deaf Olympics in Taipei. I’d worked really hard to try to get my qualifying times down and just managed to get into the team. I went there in August 2009 and got six personal bests.
“This year I qualified for the Europeans in Dortmund, Germany. I swam five events and two relays and, in the 4x200 the team got a bronze medal.”
As well as competing, Luke has been actively involved in the 5x60 scheme which aims to get secondary school age children doing 5x60 minutes of exercise a week.
Luke was chosen to become a young leader, responsible for assisting officers to promote the scheme, get other young people involved and assist with the implementation of sessions.
Helen Laidler, swimming and aquatic development officer for Wrexham Council, has worked closely with Luke over the years.
She said: “Luke is a great role model for fellow swimmers. He has taken time to aid young swimmers and to motivate pupils within his school to take part in aquatic activities.
“He has done all this while excelling in the sport himself and he has become a key part of what we are trying to deliver here in sports development.
“Nothing has held him back. He has worked tremendously hard to achieve his goals in both swimming and the rest of his life. The young swimmers in these sessions can really identify with Luke – he is a really remarkable character.”
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