By MARTIN TIGHE
UNIVERSITY of the West of Scotland student Jack McComish has been selected to represent Great Britain at next year’s Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey.
Jack has been involved in the British deaf team from the age of 14 and has competed at one previous Deaflympics, two European Championships and a World Championship. He is now one of the oldest swimmers in the team at the age of 21.
Jack has to combine his training with his University coursework and that takes a huge commitment.
He revealed: “My training will increase as I get closer to the competition. At the moment I spend about 16 hours a week in the pool made up of eight sessions. I also do strength and conditioning training in the gym.”
Jack specialises in breaststroke and competes in the 50m, 100m and 200m. He has a lot to live up to in these events as at the last Deaf World Championships in Texas in 2015, he came home with two bronze medals.
For the upcoming event in Samsun, Jack is clear about what he wants: “I want a medal. It’s the only medal I’m missing from my collection – a Deaflympics medal.”
The Deaflympics is gaining more publicity across the globe, and with that comes stiffer competition in making the team.
Unfortunately the deaf athletes don’t receive any funding. With the rise in popularity of the Paralympics, the Deatlympics have lost the original funding they received from the Lottery.
That means that the cost for attending the games has to be met by the athletes themselves, either through fundraising or their own pocket.
Jack feels that deaf athletes should be included in the Paralympics and pointed out that it’s quite a tricky political situation.
He stressed: “The deaf athletes pulled themselves out of the Paralympic a few years ago as they wanted to be a stand alone entity and now due to the rise in popularity of the Paralympics we can’t get back into the fold.”
In the meantime Jack is concentrating on his Sports Development studies and is part of the Sports Scholarship programme.
He stressed: “UWS have been very good with me and helped out with the training. I do my training at Tollcross with the City of Glasgow swim team where the facilities are great.”
As for next summer Jack can’t wait but admits that it’s hard work with the increased training. Hopefully though those extra hours in the pool and gym will mean he comes back home with that elusive Deaflympics medal.