Paralympic dream for swimming coach

Laurence Whiteley - Paralympic hopeful. (S)
Laurence Whiteley - Paralympic hopeful. (S)
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An inspirational swimming coach is training hard in a bid to fulfil his dream of being part of Team GB in next year’s Paralympic Games.

But Laurence Whiteley will not be entering the water – he hopes to be a member of the rowing team!

Laurence, 19, lost his right knee and half of his right shin to bone cancer five years ago. They were replaced with titanium implants and, with intensive physiotherapy, he learned to walk again.

And although he now walks with a limp and has extensive muscle and nerve damage he is in the gym five times a week.

A keen swimmer, he coaches at Hambleton Leisure Centre in his home town of Northallerton but when he realised to compete at the games as a swimmer he would have to pitch against disabled people with the use of both their legs, he took to rowing.

In April he took up adaptive rowing with the Tees Rowing Club – as a trunk and arm rower. Since then he has been training both off and on the water, entering his first race in June rowing for England in the Home International Regatta in Strathclyde in Scotland. Competing against other adaptive rowers from the home nations he won his 1,000m race by two minutes.

Now he will be heading down to Reading in October for trials for the GB Adaptive rowing team for the 2012 Paralympics.