This month Thomas Hamer from Rawtenstall in Lancashire became the first S14 swimmer to break the two-minute barrier in the 200m freestyle and should earn himself a European and world short-course record with the result.
As well as clocking a “magical” 1:59.75 to win gold in the 200m freestyle at the DSE National Junior and Youth Championships in Sheffield, the 15-year-old won another three gold medals - in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke - as well as three silver medals and one bronze medal.
Then, to cap an extraordinary month for the new British record holder, the following day he had the opportunity to meet Sir Chris Hoy at an athlete workshop organised by SportsAid and SSE as part of the new SSE Next Generation programme which is supporting 50 SportsAid athletes a year, including Thomas this year.
“It has been a pretty busy few weeks,” his dad Darren explains, “But Tom has taken it all in his stride.
“He has got pretty close to the British record [before] and we thought he was capable of that but to go on and break the world record was remarkable.
“Of course we have to wait for it to be officially recognised but we are delighted for Tom because he has worked so hard.”
Asked what impact his support from SSE will have this year Tom says, “My SportsAid Award from SSE will help to pay for my training fees, transport costs, accommodation and kit.”
All vital components of a successful swimming career.
In addition to this financial support, at the workshop Tom also benefitted from specialist training in nutrition, interview techniques and good use of social media. He also had the chance to quiz Olympian Leon Taylor and Paralympian Sally Brown in a valuable mentoring session.
Speaking to the athletes and parents who attended the workshops Chris Hoy said, "I think it's great that SSE are getting behind future champions and not just looking for a quick fix but creating a genuine relationship, following their journey and taking pride in seeing all these young athletes develop right through to 2018, 2020 and beyond.”
Read more about the workshop in our full write up of the event.
Read more about Tom’s achievements on his profile on this website profile on this website