ABERDEEN Amateur Swimming Club’s Thomas Beeley admits that last year’s near miss spurred him on after picking up three medals at the Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games.
Beeley joined 1,600 other competitors in Manchester over the weekend for the UK’s largest multi-sport event for elite level, school-age athletes.
The Banchory Academy pupil was in action on both Saturday and Sunday, producing a string of impressive performances at the Manchester Aquatics Centre to win gold in the 200m butterfly and silver in both the 100m butterfly and the 4x200m freestyle.
The 16-year-old came second in the 200m butterfly 12 months ago but his personal best time of 2:06.72 minutes was more than enough to go one better at this year’s event.
And Beeley is convinced that his medal haul has set him up perfectly for a memorable season.
“I feel very good about the weekend’s races but the last 15 metres of the 200 metres butterfly were really sore so I was glad to finish it,” he said.
“Having a weekend of medals at the School Games is a great confidence boost. I came here last year and won silver in the 200 metres so to have cut four seconds off that time, get a personal best and win gold is great.
“There’s a really different atmosphere to normal swimming competitions because multi-sport events create a greater feeling of being part of a team.
“Doing it for the team rather than just as an individual definitely adds something to the competition, and it’s really nice to have this many relays to get involved in.”
The Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, featured 12 different sports across four days.
In what was his first event of the new season, Beeley’s success in the pool would appear to bode well for both his short-term and long-term future.
And the teenager acknowledges that he is aiming high when it comes to swimming.
“I think everyone’s dream is to get to the Olympic Games and that is certainly mine,” he added.
“As for my chances of getting to Tokyo, we’ll find out in time!”
The Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health and British Paralympic Association. The Games were held in venues across Manchester from 3-6 September 2015. Visit www.2015schoolgames.com for more information.