Bishop Vesey’s has always promoted a culture of allowing students the opportunity to prove themselves, and over the years we have seen a number of individuals progress with their talents and take it to the next level.
We firmly believe all students should be given the support and additional mentoring to help them pursue their dreams and invest time into what they are most passionate about.
The latest student to take their passion for sport to a professional level is Hamish Carter (OV2017), who recently competed as part of team Scotland’s gymnastics squad at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, achieving a bronze medal for his performance.
We caught up with Hamish to find out more about his incredible journey since leaving Bishop Vesey’s.
- When did you attend BVGS?
I joined Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in year nine and completed my GCSEs and A Levels before officially leaving last year.
- How were you introduced to gymnastics?
I started taking gymnastics lessons when I was three years old. I was very hyperactive as a child and enjoyed climbing on things, like the shed in the garden, and running around the house, so my mum took me to gymnastics to burn off some of that extra energy and use it productively.
- What was it about gymnastics that sparked your interest?
While I was enjoying swimming and other sports during primary school, my main passion was in gymnastics and after taking lessons consistently I started to improve and get pretty good at it. The best thing about gymnastics is that it’s such a diverse sport that involves many different disciplines, and that was something that really appealed to me from an early age.
- What motivated you to take gymnastics seriously and compete on an international stage?
I started competing in gymnastics while I was living in Nottingham – winning county championships annually, and I think it was at that point I wanted to see how far I could take it. Once I was selected into the Elite Performance Squad, that’s when the dedication really intensified with early morning training sessions, working hard to get selected for my first international call up, which I did at 10. Since then I have kept up my commitment and invested the hours needed to compete at that international level.
- At what point did you discover or know you’d be competing in the Commonwealth Games?
At the start of this year I discovered that I had been selected to represent team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, having been successful during the two qualification phases that took place last year.
- How was your experience of the Commonwealth Games?
It might sound a bit cliché, but it seriously was the best month of my life. I enjoyed the entire experience, from the competing, to the downtime and meeting the other athletes. From a personal perspective, I was able to deliver my best ever routines in front a huge audience, which was a massive achievement. The Gold Coast competition has helped me gain a lot of experience as an athlete that I know will only help me as I prepare to compete in other high-profile competitions.
- How was training in the build-up to the games?
Since leaving BVGS, training had increased from 23 hours a week to 32 hours, with two sessions four days a week. This extra training allowed me to improve my routines and improve my fitness and conditioning, and I have definitely benefited from this foundation of fitness when it comes to competition time.
- How did it feel to win a medal at the games?
We knew coming into the games that it wouldn’t be easy and that to finish on the podium we would have to bring our best performance. As we came to the last stage of the event we were neck and neck with Cyprus for the bronze medal, so we knew we had to nail the final floor routine in order to secure third place. Thankfully, we put on a fantastic display and we were all elated to win the medal and make up for the smaller mistakes we had made earlier in the competition.
- Do you have an eye on competing in the 2020 Olympic Games?
Yes definitely – the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is something I would love to be a part of, and next year will be a massive year in terms of deciding whether I make the squad. While 2020 is obviously important, 2019 will be the qualification year, so it is crucial that I start preparing now to give myself the best chance of being selected. From next week I will be starting my rehabilitation programme for an ongoing wrist problem, and this will allow me to recover in time for next year’s events.
- How have your family and friends supported you throughout this journey?
Without my mum, dad and wider team there’s no way I would be in the position I am today. My family and friends have always supported me throughout my journey, whether that be taking me to my training sessions in the early days or watching me compete and showing their support now. When I had to invest a lot of my time in training, my friends were all really understanding and encouraged me to keep at it. My mum, dad and younger brother all came with me to the Gold Coast and watched me compete at the Games, so it was great that I could win that medal not only for myself but for them as well.
- Do you think your time at Bishop Vesey’s has helped you find success?
Massively, the school has been crucial to my success and have supported me throughout the years of training. They allowed me to miss a third of the academic year for five years straight and would send my work to me 2-3 weeks in advance so that I could keep on top of my studies while on the road. When I was at the school, they also provided additional workspace and gave me the tutoring I needed to achieve my grades, while allowing me to invest the time my sport required.
- What is your fondest memory from you time at BVGS?
That’s a tricky one, but there’s probably two that stick out in my mind more than most. The first one being our last day of Sixth Form when we all got dressed up and had a great time celebrating with friends. The second is probably the day I opened my A Level results via email and realised I’d achieved three B’s, which was obviously a fantastic achievement for myself and the school, considering all the distractions of training and travelling to competitions.
- Finally, what advice would you give to other students who have dreams of becoming a professional sportsperson or athlete?
If someone is in a position where they are serious about competing or are passionate about a particular sport, then I’d seriously tell them to pursue it while they’re still young. Professional sport takes its toll on you, so it is important that you start working towards your goal as early as you can to give yourself the best chance possible. I have learnt so many transferable life skills since taking up gymnastics, and it has presented me with a number of fantastic opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise. If you are serious about sport, then truly commit yourself to the cause and work hard to achieve your dreams.