Former Jesuit student captains British Deaflympic team
Old Wimbledonian swimmer Tom Baxter recently captained the Great Britain Deaflympic team and came back with a bronze medal from Samsun in Turkey. As well as picking up their medal, the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team of which Tom was a member also broke the British record for the event.
Tom started swimming at the age of 13 while he was attending the Jesuit school in South London. Proudly displaying his medal against his old school swimming cap, he said, “I used to swim at my school, Wimbledon College, during the PE sessions every week and look where we are 10 years later.” Now the senior swimmer in the Deaflympic squad, he raised over £1500 through crowd funding in order to participate in this summer’s games.
Sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, this year’s Deaflympics, the 23rd, were opened by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The games finished on 30 July, with a record 92 countries having participated and Russia ranked top of the medal table for the third consecutive time. The Summer Deaflympics have been held every four years (with a three-year gap between two early games) since the first meeting in Paris in 1924. ‘The Silent Games’, as they are sometimes known, were the first organised games for people with a disability. Uniquely, the athletes cannot be guided by any sounds such as a starter’s pistol, whistles, etc.Tom trains with Teddington Swimming Club and is an associate coach with Woking Swimming Club, and as well as coaching he often gives talks and has proved an inspiration to many deaf children. Tom’s achievement caps off a glorious summer of sport for Wimbledon College alumni, as he joins wheelchair sprinter Toby Gold, who won a silver medal in the T33 100m at the World Para athletics in London in July.
Wimbledon College provided 20 ball boys this summer for the world famous Wimbledon tennis Championship, and also at the beginning of the summer Figures (Year 7), boasted its own national champion in Taekwondo.