EDINBURGH swimmer Sean Fraser hopes to add an Olympic gold medal to his collection after experiencing a podium finish in Beijing four years ago.
The 22-year-old former Lasswade High School pupil, who will compete in the S8 category at this summer’s Paralympics, has a mild form of cerebral palsy down the right side of his body. However, with Fraser expected to compete in up to five different events at the London Aquatics Centre – the Olympic venue – including the 100 metres backstroke, freestyle and butterfly, 50m freestyle, and a team relay event, the Warrender and Manchester HPC club swimmer will have several opportunities to stake his claim.
“I won a bronze medal in Beijing in the 100m backstroke so I’d love to exceed that this time around,” Fraser says. “It’s a tough target but it’s the best feeling in the world to stand on the podium and to do it in front of a home crowd would just top everything. The support is going to be fantastic so hopefully that extra buzz will carry me through. The experience of competing in Beijing will help me in some ways like being able to handle the pressure, which is something that a lot of people do struggle to cope with. I know what a full stadium looks like and I just need to control the things I can do and enjoy the experience.”
Similarly to all London hopefuls, Fraser is in the midst of the final few weeks of an intense training regime, a programme designed to offer him the best preparation both physically and mentally and he has just returned from the sunnier climate of Majorca, after a demanding 13 days at the British Gas GBR Disability Swimming team camp.
“The pool was fantastic so it was good to get away and get some warm weather on our backs. It’s a lot easier to train when you’re away from all the hassles at home. It was good to build up the team spirit. Everybody is focused on London and this is the reason why we have these training camps – we all have our goals and we want to achieve them.”
Fraser has had the privilege of swimming at the brand new London Olympic swimming venue at the British Gas Swimming Championships in March, a competition where many dreams became reality with qualification to this summer’s Games secured.
He said: “I can’t wait to get back to the pool for my events. It’s getting really close now and you can almost feel the buzz. I think when the kit arrives is when it will really hit home. It’s going to be a dream come true as you won’t see this again in my lifetime. This is what all the early mornings are for and why we have trained so hard in the last four years.
“I’ve still got a few more competitions between now and the Olympics including the German Open and we’re also returning to Majorca again in July for a final session so it’s a busy few months ahead.”
Fraser’s decision to relocate to Manchester and leave his Edinburgh home in 2009 coincided with the closure of the Royal Commonwealth Pool for refurbishment, a project which has since been completed with the prestigious building reopening its doors in March earlier this year.
With this in mind, Fraser is looking forward to returning to the Capital in early autumn and getting back in the pool which aided his transformation from swimming hopeful to elite athlete.
He added: “I am moving back home to Edinburgh after the Olympics. I’ve spoken it through with my coach Laurel Bailey at Warrender and my parents so it will be good to get back.”
• British Gas is getting the nation to show its support for the British Swimming Teams and is giving away free swims. Simply visit www.britishgas.co.uk/freeswimming