Swim club proves a real pool of talent
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.”
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