Student wins eight gold medals at Downs Syndrome International Swimming Organisation European Championships

London South East Colleges student Billy Birchmore has won eight gold medals at the Downs Syndrome International Swimming Organisation European Championships in Paris.

Following his success, Birchmore (pictured), who is a student on the college’s Introduction to Work programme, will represent Great Britain at the DSISO World Championships in Canada – which could give him the chance to compete at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

The 21-year-old began swimming aged 13, and is currently the world record-holder for the fastest 100m backstroke by a man with Downs syndrome, with a time of 1.15.70.

Birchmore has received support from the college to pursue his interest in sport, and the SEN team wrote him a personalised timetable allowing him one day per week working in sport, so he can get closer towards his dream of becoming a swimming coach.

“For now, it’s back to concentrating on my college work. I would like to become a swimming coach at a leisure centre one day and that’s what I need to focus on long-term” he said. “I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far and just want to keep winning. It gives me such a good feeling.”

Billy Birchmore (Image: Simon Wilkinson)