Luke Boyles is cementing himself in the breastroke hall of fame

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The 17-year-old visually impaired athlete is already one of the best in the country, ousting S12 rival Stephen Clegg to become the country’s leading breaststroke in the classification.
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Britain's prince of breaststroke, Bournemouth’s Luke Boyles is hellbent on becoming the face of British para swimming.

The 17-year-old visually impaired athlete is already one of the best in the country, ousting S12 rival Stephen Clegg to become the country’s leading breaststroke in the classification.

And now the Bournemouth ace, who lost his sight when he was young, is ready to take the next step and fulfil his potential.

"I started swimming at four and then competitive swimming at eight years old and I was able to see back then, so I was doing able-bodied swimming," said Boyles, who has been selected to be part of the Team England Futures programme with Commonwealth Games England and SportsAid. .

"I had stopped swimming for a year before the surgeries that I had. The surgeries were in May, and September of the same year I got back in the pool and it was a bumpy ride since I can't see, so I was hitting everything and learning the ropes again.

"I could still swim, it's the same as riding a bike, you can just hop on a bike but you will be a little bit wobbly.

"I would say Alice Tai is a big inspiration because she's just awesome and her mum helped my mum for quite a while when we joined para swimming and I've just been peeking at all of the achievements that Alice has been getting and I want a piece of that.

"She's a very busy person but I've met her a few times and she introduced me to my rival Stephen Clegg in the S12 category and we both shook on the fact that I'm having breaststroke and he's having fly so there's no debating over those two."

The Team England Futures programme will see over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff given the opportunity to attend the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, watch live sporting action and take a first-hand look behind-the-scenes.

The programme seeks to better prepare athletes to deliver medal-winning performances as either Team England, Team GB or ParalympicsGB debutants at future Games, while also giving support staff a first-hand look at the opportunities they could be presented with, as well as challenges they may face, at a multi-sport competition.

Boyles currently swims at Bournemouth College in a small team of around 12 swimmers, and hopes that his focused training will propel him onto the same level as Clegg in just a few years.

"I would like to go to a Paralympics and I went to the test event for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and I really enjoyed doing relays with the para lot,” he added.

"But at the moment I think short-term, making it into British Champs in most of my events would be awesome."

Commonwealth Games England has appointed SportsAid to lead on the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. You can find out more about the programme by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.

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