Burnley Bobcats swimmer Thomas Hamer admits getting a taste of the London 2012 pool as part of this year’s National Paralympic Day only makes him more determined to fulfil his dream of making Rio 2016.
Hamer recently travelled down to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to take part in a Great Britain versus Europe head-to-head in the pool for the 2014 National Paralympic Day celebrations.
It was the first time that the London Aquatics Centre had hosted international swimming since the London 2012 Paralympics, and Hamer certainly made sure to enjoy the experience in front of a loud home crowd.
The 16-year-old finished second in the men’s S14 200m freestyle behind Jon Margeir Sverrisson of Iceland, who claimed the Paralympic title in London two years ago, in a time of 1:30.52 minutes.
And after a few weeks off following a summer which has seen him claim silver in the same event at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, Hamer was pleased with his outing.
“I’m really chuffed with that.
“I’ve just had two weeks off, I’ve come back and I’ve been a second away from a personal best so I’m happy with that,” he said.
“I went out alright, held it and that last 100m I just went for it.
“I was battling out with the European guy and unfortunately he got the better of me but I’m really happy with that.
“The pool is amazing; the crowd were all behind you and really loud.I really enjoyed the experience.
“It’s like a little step to Rio, getting an experience of the London pool and just makes you want to keep training hard.
“I’m just working hard now and seeing what is coming my way.
“The Commonwealth Games were amazing and getting a silver was a highlight of the summer but Rio will not be far away.”
Swimming was one of four sports contested at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the day’s celebrations with boccia, goalball and wheelchair basketball taking place in the Copper Box Arena. And with events also taking place across the UK in Birmingham and Liverpool respectively in order to celebrate and promote disability sport, Hamer was proud to have played his part in the day.
“It means the world to be a part of National Paralympic Day,” he added.
“It’s a great opportunity for other para-swimmers who are maybe not at the top level to learn and see what is coming their way.
“It’s really nice to see the attention being put on disability sport and to see so many people coming out to watch.”
• National Paralympic Day aims to promote Paralympic sport across the UK, giving people the opportunity to relive the wonder of 2012 and to support Paralympic sports and athletes.
#NPD2014 is supported by the Spirit of 2012 Trust. Visit Paralympics.org.uk/npd2014