James Roberts reflecting on his time in Swansea
"I originally went to Swansea University as a swimmer, however, by the Christmas of 2005 I had been dropped from the British Swimming Disability potential programme, I went home thinking after the holidays I'm going to be going back to university and become a normal student, but our Performance Director at Disability Sport Wales (DSW) Anthony Highest had other ideas, he asked me if I would like to try rowing, I dually excepted the challenge with probably a bit of reluctance but as you say the rest is history and in short I went on to compete at 3 world championships and finished 5th in the final of the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
The 2009 season began and there is talk of me being reclassified, I had a meeting with the Head Coach of GB Adaptive Rowing Thomas Dyson, DSW Performance Director Anthony Hughes, then Head Coach of Welsh Rowing Ian Shore and my club coach at City of Swansea RC to discuss the implications of the reclassification, in short, it was to be my last season with GB Rowing.
But both the team and I did our utmost to go with a bang and to try and finish with a medal at the 2009 World Championships in Poznan, Poland. But it turned out not to be, the boat, however, went under the previous world best time, scant consolation when you have been beaten by 4 other crews on the day.
Since my retirement from performance disability sport, I have come back to Prestatyn, North Wales and have been involved in Wheelchair Basketball ever since helping Rhyl Raptors now more recently North Wales Knights climb the division ladders of Wheelchair Basketball in Britain.
Furthermore, I have become a personal trainer, it's a very rewarding job as I am able to help people reach their goals.
All this wouldn't have been possible without the help of the coaches at City of Swansea
RC, Welsh Rowing, Disability Sports Wales and not forgetting both Swansea University and the University of Chester and most importantly the support of my family and friends."