So, how do you fancy the idea of getting up at 4.20 am, six times a week to train in a swimming pool, doing endless lengths every morning or night? Sound appealing? Well, this is Tom’s schedule, and if he is to compete with the best in Britain that is exactly what he has to keep doing.
Recently, he has competed at just this standard at a North East regional event with many of the rest of the UK’s brightest and best. Tom swims at a variety of big pools in York for the York City Baths Club. Tom’s best strokes are Freestyle (Front Crawl) and Back Stroke. At the regionals, which was held at Sunderland Aquatic Centre on the 27 and 28 May, Tom made an astonishing 8 out of 9 finals for the heats in these events: that’s a lot of swimming. As you may know from watching the Olympics, the events are grouped by distance, so Tom swam in the 50, 100, 200 and even 400 metres events in Freestyle. Just take a moment to think about that: most people are pretty exhausted after running 400 metres, never mind after swimming that distance! Tom made the finals of most of these events and actually achieved a fantastic bronze medal in one of them. Having asked Tom what his future ambitions were in swimming he instantly responded; “to qualify for the National competition and to achieve gold medal position in some of these distances. Obviously, the end goal would ideally be the Olympics, but I’ll take each day as it comes.”
Tom is very self-effacing about his successes, he doesn’t brag, or even talk about what he has achieved up until this point, and he is under no illusions that in order to even make Nationals, it is going to take an awful lot more training time, dedicated training hours and determination to get there.