PORTLAND’S Luke O’Dowd has been selected for the Swim England Para-Swimming National Talent Programme at foundation level, giving support for Luke and the coaches at Tornadoes.

Luke passed the criteria during his 2017-18 season, his first one as a visually impaired swimmer and he has far exceeded expectations after losing his sight in May 2017.

The England para-swimming talent team specialises in talent identification and development working and they work with British para-swimming to progress swimmers into the World Class Programme.

His mother Jo O’Dowd will be competing in a triathlon to help raise funds for training, competition and travel costs and so far has raised £2,000.

O’Dowd said: “As this will be a long, expensive journey on the road to the Paralympics, I will be attempting to complete the Bustinskins Osprey Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, October 14, along with one of (my) best friends Sophie Storey.

“It is something I never in my life thought I would even consider and all my childhood years playing the piano are not helping. But if Luke can achieve everything he has over the past year or so, then I can step out of my comfort zone and support him as best I can.

“So far we have raised a massive £2,000. We would appreciate all the support we can get.”

To get behind Luke head over to the Just Giving website to donate at: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lukeoparaswim