Paralympian competes in 2021 Olympics after learning to swim in 2020

From left:  Antwahn Boyce-Vaughan, coach Adele Price, and chef de Mission Martin Jackman at the Opening Ceremony

Imagine making an Olympic team with only one year to prepare. Better yet imagine only participating in your pet event for the first time months before your Olympic swim.

This is the story of Barbadian Paralympian Antwahn Best-Vaughan who only started swimming in 2020 but showed determination to place second in his heat recording a new personal best in the 50-metre freestyle in a time of 37.86

Best-Vaughan allowed nothing to stop him after losing his right leg to cancer in 2018.

His mother Tonia Boyce who spoke to BUZZ said that she is super proud of the resilience that Antwahn has shown since his diagnosis of Osteosarcoma, this is a form of bone cancer, and he had to have his leg amputated above the knee.


“This is his first anything and I am totally over the moon and overjoyed and proud of him for the journey that he has walked in the past couple of years-its shows nothing but the resilience and mental strength as far as I see it.”

Boyce said that her son was never involved in sports and so participating in the Olympics was something he never imagined.

As a mother, she did all she could so her son wouldn’t be depressed by losing his leg and described the work they put in one year before his Olympic swim.

“I said I just don’t want him home depressed and down, so I said let us do something. I reached out to the Paralympic Association and at first, I didn’t reach anyone but then his Prosthesis [attendant] called me and said they need some amputees to swim, and I said yes and that was only in 2020.”

Since starting to swim in January 2020 to his Olympic swim on August 28th Boyce said that her son would go to the beach or pool when it was opened and swim for two hours six days a week.

Despite the challenges with COVID and the closure of the pool at the Barbados Aquatic Centre, her son showed resilience.

Now Antwahn’s sights are not only set on the 2024 Paralympics in Paris France but also on other meets including the Commonwealth Games in London.

“I spoke to him and he said Mummy I need a ticket to London, so he is looking forward to that and we are hoping that he can participate in regional and probably local or international meets because the more exposure he gets the better he will become.”