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Swimmers enjoying life in the fast lane

For Wombourne Swimming Club, 2015 was a year of progress – both in and out of the pool.

Swimmers enjoying life in the fast lane

It was also a cause for celebration, as the club marked its 30th anniversary.

Over the three decades since its formation, the club has increased in size and now competes in four different leagues, from juniors through to seniors.

Last year, it was the youngsters who stole the limelight, gaining promotion in the Diddy League for the first time.

The seniors competed in the South Staffs, Mercian and Arena Leagues despite their slender squad.

Wombourne have seen their fortunes surge since the appointment of Dave Painter as head coach two years ago. In that time the club has smashed 80 per cent of its own records.

Vice-chairman Stephen Cox, whose 12-year-old son Morgan Lathbury-Cox is the current boys junior champion, explained how Painter had brought about huge improvements.

Dave Painter and Morgan Lathbury-Cox.

He said: "My son had two county qualifying times this time last year – and now he has nine. Since Dave has been coach he's brought an air of professionalism with him.

"He expects everyone to act properly and now all the swimmers are lined up and warming up 10 minutes before we start.

"He also works on the technical side of things because it's more important for us due to the time constraints we have. If you can master that, it usually means your times will improve."

One stand-out swimmer has been Lily May Marston, 11, who won the girls club championship and now represents Staffordshire.

Emma Grundy, Oliver Rowbery and Oliver Evans produced good swims to get new county times during the county championships

Cox added: "We did really well in the Diddy League, winning promotion. The squad hadn't lost a meeting all season until the final, but we ended up going up in second place.

"The strength of the first division will be much higher so it will be a real test for them.

"But we've got a great squad of about 10 to 12 young swimmers coming through the ranks."

Wombourne's senior swimmers were also racing against the Midlands' finest last month and came out with some good results.

Going in as the lowest-ranked club during the Arena Final at Stafford Leisure Centre, against Cheltenham, Warley Wasps, Swadlincote, Droitwich and Tewkesbury, the club finished last.

But half of all the club's swimmers posted personal bests and 80 per cent of the squad's relay times were improvements on previous rounds.

Cox said: "Some of those clubs have three squads to choose from. They can be training two to three hours more a week than us.

"We are restricted by our facilities really and we have to dip in and out of our squads."

Wombourne was founded in 1985 by Don Porter, who remained as head coach for 20 years, and trains at Wombourne Leisure Centre.

Amanda Dunning, who swam at national standard during her youth, has been involved with the Wombourne club for the last eight years.

Both her daughters, 17-year-old Maddyson and 13-year-old Maisie trained with the squad and now she coaches for free as well as competing with the masters team.

She set up Salamanda with fellow coach Sally Credai to work as a feeder club for Wombourne targeting children aged three and above.

Sessions are held at Smestow School in Wolverhampton and Crestwood High School in Kingswinford.

Dunning said: "One great thing about the club is how the swimmers like to give something back.

"We all work for free other than the head coach, who himself swam at national masters level and has brought loads of enthusiasm with him.

"We also ran a summer camp with two-hour swimming sessions and followed lessons in diet and nutrition to give youngsters a feel for what the club is all about.

"We're always on the look out for new members and the aim going forward to is to keep the club growing."

For further information about Wombourne Swimming Club visit www.wombourne-sc.com.

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