Eighteen-year-old Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) student Lewis Burras beat Olympic silver medallist Duncan Scott to take gold in the men’s 100m freestyle at the British Swimming Championships in Edinburgh.
Lewis took the top spot on the podium with a personal best of 49.89 seconds, safely within the qualification time for this year’s European Junior Championships. He was also the only swimmer in the 100m freestyle final to swim under 50 seconds.
The race was hotly contested, with Edinburgh’s David Cumberlidge and Stirling’s Duncan Scott both hot on Burras’ heels at the turn. Though Cumberlidge was barely a fingertip behind at the 50m mark, Burras powered down the final 50m to win the race and take the gold medal.
Lewis said after the victory: “It felt great to win especially racing against these older guys and I think this is great preparation for next year as I transition from junior and compete on the senior stage. The atmosphere here is incredible, as soon as the lights went down, I know it was game-face time.”
Lewis joined JESS as a young primary student and first got into the water at just three years old. For the last couple of years, Lewis has been a part of the British Swimming Junior Performance Team and in that time has been climbing up the rankings of the senior swimmers.
His training, as you would expect, is grueling with Lewis training daily before and after school with Hamilton Aquatics under the expert guidance of his swim coach Ash Morris.
Katie Raybould, head of aquatics at JESS, said: “At 18, for a male, Lewis is still classed as a junior, so for a junior swimmer to take gold at the men’s senior 100m freestyle title at the British Championships in Edinburgh last week, is a pretty outstanding achievement especially when he was competing against well-established senior athletes including Duncan Scott who represented Great Britain at the Rio Olympics and was part of the medal winning relay there.”
Shane O’Brian, secondary head at JESS, added: “The commitment needed to swim competitively at this level and still maintain school work is hugely commendable. Lewis is an outstanding athlete and an exemplary student, and the whole of JESS are proud of his achievements and we will certainly be celebrating when he returns to school.”
Burras’ mum summed up his hard work by saying: “We are so proud of Lewis. The dedication, focus and drive he has to achieve his dreams is inspiring and even though he has had setbacks, he has learnt from those experiences and used them to make him stronger and more determined.
“He usually has three-to-four overseas swim meets a year and I can’t thank the entire team at JESS enough for the support, encouragement and guidance they have given him, tailoring his studies around his training and overseas competitions, ensuring he is still on track to achieve his academic goals, as well as his sporting ones.”
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