Olympic hopeful Tom is chosen to carry the flame
A TEENAGER from Cleethorpes wants to make his late mother proud after being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch and compete in trials to swim for Great Britain.
Two years after his mum Linda lost her battle with cancer, Tom Paine, 17, of Bolingbroke Road, will be swimming at the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre in March, competing against the best of the best for a place in Team GB at the London Olympics.
He has also been chosen as a torchbearer for the Olympic relay when it comes to Cleethorpes on June 26.
But Tom, a member of Cleethorpes And District Swimming Club, was nominated by school friend Luke Williams to carry the torch for more than just his prowess in the pool.
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The Caistor Grammar student lost his mum to cancer when he was 15 years old, just a few months before his GCSE exams, but it only spurred him on to achieve more.
Despite his loss, Tom went on to get nine grade As, three grade Bs and two grade Cs in his GCSEs.
Not only that, but he has had a better year in the pool than ever before.
He swims eight times a week and is a bright 400m individual medley prospect, having swum the Olympic heats qualifying time at the Leeds Christmas Cracker.
Tom said: "I think my mum is looking down on me and I want to make her proud. It was a very difficult time for the whole family when she passed away, but you have no choice but to carry on.
"Swimming can be very relaxing and a chance to switch off, although if there is too much going on, you can never really switch off.
"The Olympics coming to Britain is amazing in itself and to get to be a part of it is an incredible feeling.
"I am looking forward to swimming at the qualifiers in the Olympic pool in front of a full crowd – it's a sell- out.
"I never thought I would get to carry the torch, even after I heard I had been nominated, so I didn't tell anyone at first – this is a big surprise."
Thomas is now doing his A Levels, as well as concentrating on his swimming, and hopes to get a grade A and two grade Bs in his exams this summer.
He has applied to study physiotherapy at university and hopes to go to the University Of East Anglia next year.
His father, Chris Payne, 63, said: "He didn't even tell me when he was nominated to carry the torch, it wasn't until he was shortlisted that I found out.
"I am extremely proud of him and think he thoroughly deserves to carry the torch."