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Cinderford swimmers are making a big splash

All Areas > Sport > Swimming

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 26th September 2017, 09:00

Team Cinderford and District Swimming Club Team Cinderford and District Swimming Club

Cinderford and District Swimming Club have been making waves for 40 years.

The swimming pool was built 41 years ago and not long after the swimming club were formed.

“The pool was built with funds raised by the community,” said current Head Coach Pam James.

“These days Freedom Leisure, a charitable trust, manage the running of the pool and the swimming club hire the pool from them. It’s certainly a very good arrangement because the club have 150 members ranging in age from seven to people in their 70s, including more than 30 masters swimmers.

“We are a small community swimming club and it’s about enjoyment, and encouraging swimmers to be the best that they can be.

“We’re very keen to improve the technique of our swimmers. People don’t realise that swimming is a very technical sport.”

Competition is something the club are quite good at too. While Pam is keen to emphasise the fun element, she gets a huge amount of pleasure from seeing the club’s swimmers do well.

“We had one swimmer – Dean Embling – reach the National Finals five years ago,” she said with justifiable pride.

“This year two swimmers – Ceris and Nia Westlake – qualified and competed in the Welsh Nationals while six swimmers competed in the South West Regional Championships, which is also a high level.”

Those south west regional standard six were Gabby Stephens, Finlay Stuart-Gunter, Erlina Ainsworth and Morgan Peck as well as Ceris and Nia Westlake.

“Erlina gained first place and a gold medal in her 50-metre freestyle event,” said Pam.

All six will be key players as the club gear up for the County Championships early next year.

“We compete against Gloucestershire and Bristol clubs at the County Championships,” said Pam. “We have over 20 swimmers who qualify each year.”

The club are a big success story and since 2005 they have been awarded SwimMark status – a quality mark given by Swim England – formerly the ASA.

“It covers all aspects of the club from our development of swimmers, our good practices, our finance and administration,” said Pam.

They also play a big part in community life and a recent 24-hour swimathon raised more than £2,000 for the air ambulance.

Pam has obviously played her part in the success of the club.

She first got involved over 25 years ago when her children Laura and Matthew started swimming.

“I was just a parent to start with,” said Pam. “Then I joined the committee and helped out in other ways. Then I took my coaching badges, it’s been a gradual process.

“I carried on when the children stopped swimming. It’s been a good hobby for me.

“The club are run totally by volunteers and we currently have over 30 regular volunteers playing their part in keeping the club running smoothly.”

Other Images

Erlina Ainsworth is South West champion in the 50m freestyle
A 24-hour swimathon raised more than £2,000 for the air ambulance

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