1:02pm Monday 13th January 2014
By Matthew Colledge
SWIMMING star Chris Wilson is to continue his studies in the USA when he leaves Taunton School this summer - and pursue his sporting dream at the same time.
He has received four academic scholarship offers from American universities - each with swimming high on their agenda - and the most valuable is worth $100,000 off the four-year tuition fee.
Chris, who is 17 and lives in Bradford-on-Tone, has been a student at Taunton School since Pre-prep and is studying A-levels in business studies, geology and PE.
And he has been making a name for himself in the swimming pool by qualifying for this year's national finals in the 100m Butterfly.
Chris is a member of the Taunton Deane club and will also be swimming for them in the national Arena League Final.
He trains for 14 hours a week - starting at 5.45am on four mornings - in the 25-metre Taunton Prep pool under the guidance of Graham Davidson, who is both the school and Taunton Deane swimming coach.
“It's a huge part of my life,” said Chris. “I love being around the people I swim with and it takes my mind off the pressures of school and life. I love it in the water.”
Following guidance from Taunton School head of careers, David Hawkins, Chris applied for - and has now been offered - scholarships to study business at Augustana College in Illinois, the University of Indianapolis, Hood College in Maryland and Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania.
Chris said: “I visited both Augustana and Indianapolis during half-term. I liked them both and would be one of the best swimmers in their team if I went there.
“I've just made my first goal by getting the national qualifying time and I'm not looking much further than that. The next step would be to get my Commonwealth Games time and take it from there.
“I will be swimming just as much as a I do now and I'm really excited about it - I can't wait.”
Headmaster, Dr John Newton, said: “Chris has been a sporting star in the school for many years and this is just reward for the hours of hard work he has put in.
“Chris is superbly supported by his family and we all hope this is the start of something very big for him.”
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