Teenage diver Lucas back to full strength after battle with coronavirus

If any evidence was needed that Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate, it could be found in the case of teenage diver Lucas Clayton.

Before social distancing was the norm and when a nationwide lockdown hadn’t yet been contemplated, Lucas was at school when he began to feel ill.

He recalls: “I started to feel a bit sick and I went a bit red.

“My friends told me that I didn’t look right, so I went to the medical room and went home that day.

“I then got a cough and I just wasn’t well. I was really tired and kept having stomach aches.”

The ‘classic’ symptoms of coronavirus didn’t emerge until days later, so the decision of Lucas’ parents to immediately keep him away from school and training was vital, in hindsight.

Lucas’s mother, Jeanette, said: “It was so early on in the process. The day he was sent home from school, he didn’t have classic symptoms, he just had stomach cramps and his cheeks were flushed.

“It was such early days that you didn’t know anyone who had it or was self-isolating and we didn’t know how bad it was going to get.

“From that point of view, it was quite scary.”

Inside the bubble

In a sign of the power of self-isolation, no other member of the Clayton family contracted coronavirus.

They all remained home while life continued with normality around them.

Lucas, who is a member of Swim England’s Team Z programme and Crystal Palace Diving Club, was isolated to his bedroom.

He spent the next two weeks recovering, completely unable to exercise as the fatigue of the coronavirus set in.

He said: “I didn’t think I had it at first, but then I had all the symptoms. So I was a little bit nervous, but then I started to feel more positive, so I wasn’t scared anymore.

“I had a really sore chest and throat, I was really tired.

“My coach didn’t let me do lots of the hard training – I mainly did stretching and lighter drills after I recovered.

“But I really wanted to get back into training, so I started training properly as quickly as I could.”

Back to the drawing board

Lucas has now made a full recovery and is hoping to pick up where he left off once he can get back on the boards.

Like many others across the country, the 13-year-old had big plans for 2020, having worked towards the British Elite Junior Diving Championships and potential qualification to Team Y.

“I felt that I was doing really well,” he added. “All my dives were consistent and it was annoying that this all started.

“Hopefully we can go back to training soon, so I can pick it up and start doing my dives again.”

Ready to make a splash

But, simply pleased to be back to full health, the youngster is making the most of the facilities he has at home and the support of his coaches and teammates.

His fitness routine features road runs, trampoline sessions in the backyard, somersault sessions on a mat and Swim England’s daily Live at Five workout for divers on the Team Z and Y programmes.

“I’ve also been doing some other workouts from other clubs and some that I’ve seen on Instagram.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of my teammates. Because I’m doing video calls with my coaches and other divers, I don’t really feel like I’m on my own.”

Although Lucas will have to reassess his goals once pools reopen, he has perhaps already claimed the biggest win of his season.