Burnley Bobcat Tom Hamer may be a new name on the swimming scene but he is convinced he has what it takes to win gold at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 15-year-old created waves after bursting onto the Paralympic scene last year and set an unofficial world record in the 200m freestyle at the National Short Course Championships at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
He has since been picked to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games in the S14 category, which is for athletes with learning difficulties, and will also represent Great Britain at the IPC European Championships in Eindhoven in August.
And the talented teen is determined to make this a summer to remember by beating rivals Jack Thomas and Craig Rodgie at Glasgow’s Tollcross International Swimming Centre – the pool in which he previously set a new long course personal best – to claim a Commonwealth medal in front of a British crowd.
“I was delighted to find out that I’d been selected to represent Team England. It’s fantastic and I’m really happy, I’m very proud to be representing my country,” said Hamer, who benefits from being a member of the SSE Next Generation scheme.
“I think I should be able to win some medals. I’m very determined and hopefully I can get a personal best and get on the podium.
“The fact that we’re in Glasgow makes it special. I’m really excited and it should be lots of fun. I’m prepared for the challenge.
“My big dream is to go to the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016 and maybe Tokyo in 2020 as well.
“I can’t wait to get in the pool in Glasgow and compete for my country.”
The Alder Grange High School pupil has been swimming since the age of three and after attending lessons at a local club he progressed through the ranks at Burnley Aquatics before joining Burnley Bobcats.
He now balances his time between training at Burnley and the National Performance Centre in Manchester as well as finding time to complete his school studies.
To ensure that he gets to where he needs to be, Hamer has enlisted the help of his two biggest fans – his mum and dad.
“When mum found out that I was going to be in the Commonwealth Games she wouldn’t shut up about it, she was so proud, whoever she saw she would say ‘this is my son, he’s going to the Commonwealth Games’ and she just loves it,” he added.
“Mum has quite a lot of involvement with my swimming. She drives me down to the pool and cooks most meals, she’s good that way. She’s definitely my biggest fan and before a competition she just wishes me luck and tells me to enjoy myself.
“I’ve been training every day for the past couple of years. It’s getting harder now because it’s more competitive but I love competition. It’s great racing against other people because it gets my adrenaline pumping.”
• SSE are partnering with SportsAid to support the sporting stars of the future as part of their commitment to Glasgow 2014 and beyond with their SSE Next Generation ambassador programme. Keep up to date with the latest @YourSSE