‘Sick of silver’: Golden boy Hamer has record making ambitions for World Para Swimming Championships

They say every cloud has a silver lining, but for Rawtenstall swimmer Tom Hamer the colour should really be changed for gold.

The Paralympic swimmer missed out on gold in Rio last year, winning silver in the S14 200m freestyle, but boosted his hopes of upgrading his medal at Tokyo 2020 after setting set a new world record at the British Summer Championships in Sheffield.

The former Burnley Bobcat para swimmer equalled the existing world record with a 1:56.27 effort in the heats, before lowering it to 1:56.18 in the evening finals to claim gold.

It is the latest success for the 18-year-old swimming sensation, who became the first person to represent England in the S14 200m freestyle at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

And Hamer – who splits his time between Rawtenstall and Manchester’s Aquatic Centre – was ecstatic to have finally reached the benchmark he’d been aiming for. 

“It’s quite surreal,” he said. “I’ve been trying to chase it for three years now and in the morning, I equalled it dead and in the final I smashed it. I just wish I did it in Rio!

“I was just trying to stay as relaxed as possible, I knew it was in the bag, I just had to do it on the day.

“I just want to keep getting quicker every time I swim.”

Hamer’s new record was also inside the qualifying time the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia next April.

And as well as holding the British records for S14 50m, 200m, and 400m freestyle, the City of Manchester swimmer wants to clinch top spot on the podium at the Commonwealths next year and the Paralympics in 2020. 

“I’m kind of sick of getting silver these days. I definitely think getting that gold in Tokyo is achievable,” he said.

“I can’t wait for Tokyo. The fact that I was so close to gold means I’m going to knuckle down even more now and get that medal I’ve been aiming for.”

For now, however, Hamer will turn his attention to the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City in October where he is aiming to rewrite the history books.

“I use my records to motivate me – I keep on breaking them. It’s just my passion. If you’re passionate about something, you’re not going to succeed. I love swimming and I love training,” he concluded.

“I’m in a happy place and I know there’s so much more room to improve in the pool – both inside and out – I think this is the beginning to be honest.”

Hamer’s success is partly owed to the SSE Next Generation programme, on which he was enrolled back in 2014.

The programme saw him receive financial support and tips in lifestyle management courtesy of specifically tailored workshops.

And Hamer – who joins world and Olympic champion Katie Archibald as an SSE alumni – was all too eager to pay tribute to the programme.

“It was amazing,” he said. “I went to a media workshop and I think that really helped. I was quite young then and I wasn’t on any programmes as such, so it was a great stepping stone for me.

“It was also a great financial boost too because at that point I didn’t receive any funding and my parents had to pay for everything. It was a great stepping stone for my career.”

Since 2013, SSE is proud to make a difference to young people, their families and their communities, by investing in the future of sporting talent through the SSE Next Generation scheme. Keep up to date @YourSSE

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