Monday 30, January 2012
Team Salford making a splash at Championships
The City of Salford swimming team has this week made waves at the British Gas Swimming Championships in Manchester.
It's day six of the seven day event and Salford look forward to an evening of finals - including four of their swimmers - and can reflect on a successful week, which has so far included three medals.
The success of the club is all the more impressive by them not having an Olympic standard swimming pool. They instead train in 25 metre pools – half the length of the Aquatic Centre’s on Oxford Road, hosting the event.
With financial cuts sweeping the country and swimming pools at the lower end of most councils’ list of priorities, it may come as a surprise to learn that swimming facilities in Salford are growing.
Head Coach John Stout told The Salford News: “It’s not affected Salford an awful lot in terms of our swimming programme but these are difficult times.”
He added: “We are allowed to use the Aquatics Centre but we obviously have to pay, training in 25 metre pools never stopped record holders; Rebecca Adlington, Liam Tanock or Jo Jackson. It’s about good coaching, not fancy-Dan facilities.
“We’re just trying to work as hard as we can to make sure our programme continues to be successful. It reflects upon Salford as a city, not just nationwide but worldwide – with our athletes being successful on the world stage.”
John also confirmed to us that he was not aware of any plans to close any swimming facilities in Salford.
Comforting news for those swimmers with dreams of London 2012, such as Salford’s stand-out performer at this week’s Championships, 18-year-old Louise Watkins.
The Paralympics Silver medallist and World Champion won the 50m mixed disability freestyle on Monday night in quick enough time to qualify for this summer’s IPC European Championship in Berlin.
Louise, who lives with an upper limb disorder and effectively swims with just one arm – also picked up a bronze medal in the 100m and is already looking forward to Berlin.
She said: “I’ve had loads of races and in every one I’ve qualified for the Europeans so I’m really pleased. I’ll use it for how my pacing for this year has gone and how my training is going and then hopefully I can adapt my training for 2012.”
Louise will be swimming in her twelfth race of a gruelling week in tonight’s 100m breaststroke final – where she’s looking to make it a hat-trick of medals.
The penultimate race of the week will see Salford’s Daniel Phillips competing in the 1500m final. The 17-year-old completed his heat inside the required time to join the coveted GB junior squad.
He said: “I might be a bit too young for 2012 which hurts but I never expected to, so 2016 in Rio is my main aim.”
Daniel also told how it was the near drowning of his older brother that made his parents realise the importance of swimming and and the catalyst of his rise to be among Britain’s elite.
John Stout told us that Salford works “tremendously well” through mixing the able bodied swimmers with disabled athletes.
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