Young Cupar swimmer Ollie Carter insists his career can reach new heights after being selected for a prestigious athlete support scheme for the third year running as he continues his journey to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The 16-year-old is one of just 100 young athletes who will receive specialist mentoring, nutritional advice, media training and financial support from the SSE Next Generation programme, which identifies the potential podium stars of the future.
Carter, who swims the 400m freestyle in the S10 category for Carnegie Swimming Club, having been born with bilateral talipes, was last year’s National Open champion and in May broke records in both the S10 800m and 1500m freestyle races.
With the support of SSE guiding him through the early stages of his career, Carter admits the world is his oyster as he looks to make even more of a splash in the swimming world.
He explained: “I’ve been involved with SSE Next Generation for three years now. It was great to get selected in 2014 as it really got the ball rolling for me.
“The scheme has helped me tremendously; it has given me so much more confidence in myself, to believe that I can and will be the best.”
One of SSE Next Generation’s ambassadors is Olympic silver medal-winning diver Leon Taylor, who has been involved with the programme since its establishment three years ago.
Taylor adopts a mentoring role with the young athletes, and admits he relishes the opportunity to help them on their way to sporting greatness.
He said: “I first got involved with the SSE Next Generation programme in its infancy.
“They sponsored the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and they wanted to make a bit more of an impact with their sponsorship.
“They found that there was a gap where elite sport was well funded but there was this huge area of opportunity among young athletes, so SSE teamed up with Sports Aid and that’s when I became involved.
“There is very little sponsorship, funding, or support from elsewhere and so the SSE Next Generation scheme makes such a huge difference.
“The role that I have as an ambassador and a mentor for this scheme means my role is to inspire, but actually it is the other way around.
“I’m inspired by the athletes I meet because I see the grit, the determination, the twinkle in their eye and their hunger to improve in all these different aspects, so I go home on cloud nine after meeting them.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen.