A TEENAGE swimmer with learning difficulties is making waves on the international scene.
Tom Hamer, 15, from Rawtenstall, has his sights set on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.
The Alder Grange High School student was just one sixteenth of a second off breaking the 200m Freestyle British record recently, and is ranked Number Two in the UK for that event.
Tom has a class S14 learning difficulty.
The youngster, who is studying for his GCSEs and staying on at the school’s sixth form, said: “I struggle to concentrate with reading and spelling.
“There are categories of disability from S1 to S15, which range from people with missing limbs, to learning disabilities, and deaf swimmers.
“I have been swimming since I was 10 at Burnley Aquatics, and then joined Burnley Bobcats where I have been ever since.
“I train at 4.30am for an hour and a half on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and then two hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.
“Thursdays is a complete rest day when I play on my Xbox.”
Tom’s dedication to swimming led to him to be picked as part of the Great Britain Performance Squad who train at Manchester Aquatics Centre every Tuesday.
He said: “It means I swim and train with the best.”
Tom is waiting for the International Paralympic Committee to confirm the category his learning disability fits into, which is expected in the next few months.
He said: “I had to do a set of tests on the computer so I am now just waiting for the official confirmation.
“Once I get the official classification, it means I can compete abroad and I can start preparing for the Commonwealth Games trials and aim for the Europeans.
“The Junior Championships are in the Netherlands in July and the European Swimming Championships are in Berlin in August, which I’m excited about.
“It will be good when I first put on a Team GB strip.”