Who are we?
Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club has been actively coaching successful competitive swimmers since 1976. Our membership base (over 130) covers a wide geographical area stretching right across the Yorkshire Dales and into the North East of England. We encourage participation in swimming from the age of 6-60 years+ and are able to tailor each swimmers programme on an individual basis. Richmond Dales is proud to act as the lead para club in the North East Region and train and coach the GB Down Syndrome Team. Our family centric club, provides an opportunity for individuals to develop their mental, physical and social wellbeing, and reach their potential, whatever their goals.
We have a long record of producing top level swimmers with many County and Regional champions, medallists and finalists. Two swimmers who started at the club, Nicola and Joanne Jackson, went on to swim Internationally. In recent years we have continued to develop swimmers to represent the club at County, Regional and National levels, with more than 20 representatives at the North East Regional Championships in 2019, and one of our swimmers qualifying for the 2020 Olympic trials. In addition to this, each year we have junior members of the club being selected onto County Development programmes. Three swimmers from the club have gone on to win swimming scholarships at USA universities.
Our ethos at Richmond Dales is also about ensuring that our swimmers have fun. We have won the fancy dress competition at the North East Junior League final four times in the last five years.
The club also ran two very successful overseas swimming training camps to Majorca in 2014 and Athens in 2018. For some swimmers this was their first trip abroad and for others the first time without their families. Swimmers got the opportunity to train in outdoor Olympic size pools and visit the home of the first ever Olympics. These trips not only provided a fabulous opportunity for swimmers because of the amazing facilities available to them, but they also meant the true meaning of being a team.
The club has continued to grow, developing a Para swimming squad in 2019 with the aim of supporting swimmers with a physical disability to achieve their potential in the sport. The squad currently has six members but the aim is for the club to recruit more Para swimmers to its ranks and to become a hub for Para swimming in the North East.
The impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to training and competition for the club and its members.
At the point of lockdown our swimming squads were just preparing for our April Fools gala, which raises vital funds every year for the club, and ensures that swim fees are kept at an accessible level. We have also subsequently had to cancel a further two main fundraising swimming competitions, and in total have lost over £20,000 in revenue this year due to the cancellation of these events.
The first lockdown followed a successful start to the season with 25 swimmers representing the club at the Northumberland and Durham County Championships, picking up 16 medals, and reaching 44 finals with 53% of swims recorded as Long Course personal bests.
During lockdown the club and its coaches worked hard to keep members engaged. Virtual land training sessions, peer to peer mentoring, nutritional tips and inspirational talks from competitive athletes were the order of the day. We were fortunate to receive a range of inspirational talks and question and answer sessions, with Olympian swimmers Hannah Miley, Chris Cook, Ross Davenport, James Guy, European Champion springboard diver Grace Reid and Para Olympic Finalist Stephen Clegg.
In addition to these sessions, and land based training via Zoom, coaches held cookery sessions online showing swimmers how to prepare their own healthy snacks for before / after training and competitions. Group chats were set up to ensure the younger members were well and coping with the situation. The club also organised a sponsored 8:5:3 challenge, with all members taking part to raise funds for new equipment.
However lockdown has had serious financial implications for the club.
Who will you be helping?
Any donations will be gratefully received to help Richmond Dales remain the great family centred club it was before the impacts of this year. You will ensure that we can continue to thrive and provide the best opportunities for our present and future swimmers. It is imperative that our club continues for the mental, physical and social wellbeing of our members and their families.
Richmond Dales has one swimmer, Thomas Flower ranked inside the top 12 overall rankings in Britain, and with a goal to compete at the next Olympics. He is a multiple National Championships medallist and was selected to compete at the Olympic Trials in April 2020 before this was curtailed by lockdown. In order to achieve this, he trains six days a week with Richmond Dales and at the North East Region performance swimming hub at Sunderland pool - training with the regions top coaches and other elite swimmers. Thom completes 17 hours of swimming and 5 hours of strength and conditioning training every week.
Two swimmers from Richmond Dales have been selected for a prestigious talent programme run by Swim England. Joe Field and Archie Hare, both 12 years old, swim in the Para squad. Joe, who has dwarfism and Archie, who is visually impaired, both qualified for the National Para Championships last year and their successes in the pool have led to them both being selected for Swim England's Foundation Talent Programme 2020-21. They join a squad of only 56 other swimmers in the country who have achieved this accolade.
How will we use the money raised?
Our reserves can only stretch so far and unless we take action now, we anticipate that we could be at breaking point early next year!
The money will be used to support ongoing operational costs, including increased pool costs and ensuring the retention of our talented coaches. Social distancing measures mean that we now need more pool-space and more pool-time to accommodate the number of swimmers we have and that comes at a huge cost. The leisure centres we use have also been impacted by COVID-19 and are subsequently increasing their fees to support their own sustainability.
Why are we Crowd Funding?
Crowdfunder and Sport England have teamed up to make £1 million of match funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
We have applied for match funding through this scheme. If we are successful, once we meet our target, Sport England will contribute to our cause, doubling your donations. This will make an even bigger difference to our club and our swimmers.
We have set a target of £20,000. So please share our page far and wide on all your social media. Even the smallest of donations is very much welcomed. We need to raise £10,000 and if successful Sport England will match that with another £10,000. Please pledge now. The more money we raise, the more secure the future of the club.
At the end of our fundraising campaign, our swimmers have pledged to run, swim, or walk 10k to say Thank You.
Thank you in advance for your support!