Burnley swimmer Luke claims bronze medal

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BURNLEY swimmer Luke Pickles won a bronze medal representing the North West in the British Colleges Sport National Finals at Bath University.

The 17-year-old former St Augustine’s RC High School pupil, who now attends St Mary’s College in Blackburn, qualified following an excellent swim at the British Colleges Sport North West Championships, where he won the 100m freestyle.

That earned a trip to Bath, competing against swimmers from nine other regions in a bid to secure the gold medal.

Luke finished second in his heat, qualifying for the final, in which he finished third to take the bronze medal.

He was also in the 50mx4 Freestyle Relay team who finished in third position.

The North West men’s swimming team clinched the silver medal in the overall competition, a fantastic achievement, while the North West team, as a whole, came sixth.

Luke is currently studying the Extended National Certificate in Sport and the Community Sports Leadership course.

As well as playing football for his college team, Luke represents Padiham FC and swims for Burnley Bobcats, training for over 18 hours per week.

His swimming training includes four early morning sessions and three evening sessions.

Luke’s commitment to his sport was marked with being awarded the Farley’s Sport award 2011 by the college, which is presented to students who show an outstanding commitment to sport at regional and national levels and helps towards costs incurred with training, travel and kit.

Luke said: “I am very proud to have had the opportunity to represent the North West region at the British Colleges Sport National Finals.

“The experience of going down to Bath and competing for my home region was a privilege.

“I really hope next year I again have the opportunity to take part in such a prestigious competition.

“I’d also like to thank to Mark Hope who gave up his time to take me down there and support me and the team.”

Mark Hope, Sports Co-coordinator, added: “To be the number one 100m swimmer in colleges in the North West is a great achievement, but to take bronze, in a race between the very best swimmers currently in further education on a national stage, is absolutely outstanding.

“Luke is a fantastic example of how hard work, determination and dedication eventually gets you where you want to be.

“He rightly deserves the accolade for achieving what he has.”