Meet Luis Weekes, a world-class swimmer hailing from Barbados, who has overcome challenges and fought hard to be at the top of his game. Luis started his swimming career in Barbados and was a world-level swimmer by the age of 11. However, his journey was far from smooth sailing as his performance plateaued at just 13 years old. But Luis was not one to give up easily. He moved to the US, to a boarding school in Tennessee to take his studies and his training to the next level. Today, Luis is a student-athlete at Kenyon College, where he balances his passion for swimming with his studies in economics, statistics and data science. He has been offered a place to study for his MSc at Bath University in 2023, making him a true student-athlete who is excelling in both academics and sport.
Luis’ hard work and dedication paid off when he broke his personal best and set a new school record at the North Atlantic Championships, leading him to victory in the 100-yard breaststroke. This achievement earned him a spot in the 2022 Commonwealth games in Birmingham, England, solidifying his place as one of the top swimmers from Barbados.
Luis has experienced first-hand the challenges of balancing his athletic and academic pursuits. As a student-athlete at Kenyon College, Luis has learned the importance of finding a balance between his sport and academics. “It’s a constant battle, but it’s one that’s worth fighting,” says Luis. “I’ve learned that it’s not just about being a great athlete, it’s about being a well-rounded individual.”
In his journey to becoming a successful student-athlete, Luis has also realised the importance of seeking life guidance from those who are ahead of him in the sport. He believes that seeking insights and advice from other current and former athletes can be invaluable in helping athletes to reach their full athletic and academic potential. “It’s important to remember that you are not just your sport, you are so much more” says Luis, and “it’s important to seek advice from people, about navigating sport and life, who have been through it already.”
Luis also recognises the power dynamic between coaches and athletes and the need for trust and understanding in these relationships. He believes that a coach can play a vital role in facilitating the growth and development of both the person and the athlete, especially in a swimmer’s early years. “A coach can be a great mentor and role model,” says Luis. “It’s important to have open communication and a mutual respect and understanding of each other’s goals and expectations.”
Luis’ story is a testament to the importance of finding a balance between academics and sport, seeking life guidance, and building strong relationships. His journey is an inspiration, reminding us that success is not just about being the best athlete, but about being the best person we can be.