Nine months ago, when Tom Gallagher (S10) turned his focus to pool swimming from Surf Life Saving, the Somerset GC athlete dreamed of making a Paralympic Team.
Now, his dream has become a reality.
Gallagher will head to Tokyo on his maiden senior team – making him one of our New Kids on the Blocks.
The sprint and middle-distance swimmer, who qualified in the S10 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, truly burst on the scene after gaining his international classification earlier this year.
“My journey has been a little bit different to a lot of people,” he said.
“I started pool swimming in November and my first ever comp was in December last year, previous to that I did Surf Life Saving, the Coolangatta golds, short course racing – it’s been a busy nine months, but it’s been great.”
After an incredibly strong performance at Trials in Adelaide, Gallagher soared through the 400m free and claimed a time of 4:06.72, setting a new Australian record for the S10 classification in a phenomenal heats swim.
Triple Olympian Ash Callus is training the young hopeful on the journey in his newfound swimming career, with the opportunity to represent his country a true honour, and one that’s taken him by surprise.
When preparing for his maiden Paralympics, Tom told Swimming Australia that he was also learning the ropes from four-time Paralympian, Brenden Hall.
“Looking at his journey, watching all his races and now to be on the same team with him is really good,” he said.
“I’m not a direct competitor with him, so it’s not as competitive, we can learn more rather than compete.
“I look at it (Paralympics) as an opportunity to race the best in the world more than anything else, it’s going to be a great honour and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to perform at my best and show the world what I’m capable of.”
Good luck in Tokyo, Tom!