NEWCASTLE swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes hopes his performances at the London Olympics inspire other youngsters in his home town to live out their sporting dreams.
Fraser-Holmes capped a successful Olympic debut on Tuesday night when he helped Australia finish fifth in the 4x200metres freestyle final, which was won by the United States quartet of Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, Ricky Berens and Michael Phelps.
The 20-year-old from Charlestown finished seventh in both the 400m individual medley and the 200m freestyle.
He planned to celebrate with ‘‘some McDonald’s and maybe a few beers with the boys’’ but in due course will resume training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, at which he expects to be a stronger, more experienced competitor.
Just as Fraser-Holmes said Stockton’s Justin Norris became his hero and role model after collecting a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics 12 years ago, so he hopes he can leave his own legacy by encouraging other Novocastrians to emulate him.
‘‘Hopefully I can inspire all the young kids to achieve whatever they want to achieve,’’ he told the Newcastle Herald.
‘‘Whether they want to be world champion, Olympic champion, play for the Wallabies, do whatever, the sky’s the limit.
‘‘I’ve come from Newcastle and look how far I’ve gone.’’
Fraser-Holmes is based on the Gold Coast these days for training purposes but remains a Novocastrian at heart and said support from his home town had been overwhelming.
‘‘It means the world to me,’’ he said. ‘‘I love Newcastle and one day hopefully I’ll move back there ... definitely I’d like to say thanks to the Hunter Swim Club and Charlestown Swim Club, and just everyone who has supported me.
‘‘I know Newcastle’s been right behind me.’’
Fraser-Holmes revealed a pep talk from Norris the day before the relay had put him in the right frame of mind to produce something special.
He responded with a personal-best one minute, 46.13seconds, which had his team second behind the US at the quarter mark, after Lochte set the pace with 1:45.15.
Fraser-Holmes’s previous PB for 200m freestyle was 1:47.04 at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
His teammates, Kenrick Monk, Ned McKendry, and Ryan Napoleon, slipped back through the field to narrowly miss the bronze medal.
‘‘Justin Norris, he’s been a bit of a mentor,’’ Fraser-Holmes said. ‘‘I spoke to him yesterday and he’s pretty proud. He said just to go out there and leave nothing in the pool, just like he did in 2000.
‘‘I draw a lot of spirit from his race in 2000. In Newcastle, we pride ourselves on toughness and being the toughest person in the pool. That’s the kind of stuff I like to show.’’
Fraser-Holmes said he had no regrets about returning from London without a medal, a situation he vowed to redress in Rio.
‘‘I loved leading off for Australia and I’m so proud to wear the green and gold,’’ he said.
‘‘To take the weight of the team on my shoulders, I felt like I was leading them into battle ... when we got out of the pool, we were all buggered. ‘‘And that’s what Australia wants to see, people putting it all on the line and getting out absolutely knackered.’’
Having spent the past year training six days a week with scarcely a break, Fraser-Holmes was excited about the prospect of some hard-earned rest and relaxation.