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September 18, 2012
The Cockermouth SC swimmer was competing in the grueling event of open water swimming, a tough event in which the swimmer battles both the elements and their competitors flailing arms, legs (and fists!).
Tom's first race was the 2.4km French Cup set in the sea and canals of Sete, France which was a completely new experience for the youngster and had the added complication of avoiding the stinging jellyfish (he had been stung six times the day before). In a huge starting field of 150, Tom swam a dominant race taking the Under 16 title in 23 minutes 44 seconds and finishing 6th overall against men many years his senior.
Following the race, the team moved to Grimauld, near St Tropez, for the training camp where the swimmers participated in 11 training sessions in 4 days.
The second and final race took place in the rivers Redon and was the 5km French Cup Again a large starting field of 140 ensured that it was a very physical race; with a smooth surface with little chop, the race was especially suited to the pool swimmers. After being slowed at the start by the more experienced swimmers, Tom found himself racing nose to nose with a GB team mate, with 1km to go Tom pushed for home before kicking hard in the final 100m to take the Under 16 title in 63minutes 31 seconds and 10th overall.
A few bruises, several punches to the head and a cut or two but never the less, two wins for Great Britain and a fantastic experience he will never forget.
As of the 19th Sept 2012 Cumbria Talented Athlete Fund had supported 100 athletes in total from two elements of the fund 15 were awarded grants of £500 from the Performance element of the fund equating to £7,500. 69 award grants of £250 from the Potential element of the fund equating to £21,250. In total £28,750 worth of grants have been given to date.