Tucker Dupree is 20 years old and swims with the Raleigh Swimming Association at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, which is currently celebrating a first year of operation. Tucker represented the United States at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China and is on his way to Brazil this fall for the 2009 World Championships.
The Paralympics are Olympic style games for 4,000 elite athletes representing 136 countries in 13 different disability groups, emphasizing their athletic achievements rather than their disabilities. Tucker qualified in 2008 to represent the United States at the Paralympics in Minneapolis in April 2008 at the Paralympic swimming trials where he won five (5) Gold Medals. He recently competed in the 2009 summer Can-Am's and made the Short Course Worlds team.
In 2007, Tucker won 6 Gold medals at the US American Open Swimming Championships, two Gold and 4 Silver medals at the Pan-American Games in Vancouver, and 4 silver in 2008. After swimming in the 2009 Canadian American Championship's in Edmonton Canada, Tucker currently holds the following World Rankings:
· 3rd in the 100 Meter Butterfly
· 3rd in the 50 Meter Freestyle
· 4th in the 100 Meter Freestyle
· 4th in the 400 Meter Freestyle
· 4th in the 100 Meter Backstroke
· 7th in the 200 Meter Individual Medley
At age 17, Tucker began to lose his vision and was diagnosed with a rare disease called Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. In a short period of time, Tucker lost 60% - 80% of his central vision in both eyes. Since that time, Tucker has become a stronger swimmer and has also set a new life ambition: personal inspirational speaking.
Tucker is a 2007 honors graduate of Garner Magnet High School and has received the following recognition for his outstanding character, determination, and talent
· The Garner Magnet High School Swimming MVP
· The Tim Stevens Scholarship Award
· The WSY Andy Craver Determination Award
· The Greater Raleigh Sports Council Courage of Character