Swim club proves a real pool of tal­ent

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - BY CHRISTY BYRNE [email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com @ByrneChristy

SOUTH­PORT Swim Club is on the verge of re­gional glory as it pre­pares for the Na­tional Arena Swim­ming League North West Fi­nal.

Thirty-two young­sters will travel to Black­pool on Sun­day to rep­re­sent the town in the pool af­ter their best sea­son yet.

Club coach Mark Pa­trick­son said: “We com­pete in the Na­tional Se­nior League, which we en­ter un­der-11s, un­der­13s, un­der-15s and the open age group.

“We’ve got through the two pre­vi­ous rounds and now we’re in the Na­tional Arena League North West fi­nal on De­cem­ber 9.

“In this league we’ve never fin­ished above sixth po­si­tion, and now we’re go­ing into the fi­nal hav­ing fin­ished fourth, so it’s the high­est po­si­tion we’ve ever been in.”

Mark’s team show im­pres­sive ded­i­ca­tion to their train­ing, ris­ing be­fore the sun to fit train­ing in be­fore school.

He said: “The swim­mers have the op­por­tu­nity to train 10 times a week for two hours each ses­sion, so it’s up to 20 hours a week train­ing in the wa­ter and then they can do three one-hour land train­ing ses­sions.”

He added: “They go in at quar­ter past five in the morn­ing be­fore school.

“We have 60 swim­mers who have the op­por­tu­nity to do that regime, we’ll be tak­ing 32 to the fi­nal.”

South­port will be one of the small­est teams in terms of club mem­ber­ship, but will ar­rive at the fi­nal with a grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence.

Mark said: “We’re renowned in the North West for be­ing in the top four or five teams in the re­gion. We punch well above our weight; say Stock­port Metro may have 1,000, 2,000 mem­bers, we’ve only got 130.

“It’s a mas­sive achieve­ment for us to get to the fi­nal.”

But, he added: “We’ve made it to every Na­tional League North West fi­nal in the last 10 years.”

While South­port cur­rently work on the ba­sis that qual­ity out­weighs quan­tity, Mark is ea­ger to re­cruit more swim­mers.

Mark said: “We’re al­ways on the look­out for new mem­bers, es­pe­cially at the ages of eight, nine and 10 so they can start com­pet­ing.

“It’s life skills, ob­vi­ously your health but it’s life skills like time man­age­ment, self-dis­ci­pline, that’s the way I sell it. You’ve got to be early for the ses­sions, you’ve got to have dis­ci­pline, re­spect for your com­peti­tor and train­ing part­ners, team­build­ing, it’s not just about the swim­ming.”

Visit www.swim­south­port.co.uk

South­port Swim Club won the Co-op Cup this year and, above, pos­ing with Great Bri­tain swim­ming starAdam Peaty at last year’s Na­tional Arena League fi­nal

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