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Swimming: Stars excel in pool as Swim Flintshire head coach Stewart Clamp awaits decision on future

OLYMPIC and Commonwealth hopes and dreams hang by a thread this week as Swim Flintshire prepares for Tuesday’s final announcement by the council on its funding.

The elite programme has been under threat since October when Flintshire County Council revealed it was one of a number of leisure schemes that faced the axe as a result of severe budget cuts.

And despite the fact that the county’s best swimmers are now faced with the prospect that their dreams may be shattered in five days, they have not stopped pushing to reach the top.

The club sent swimmers to four meetings at the weekend. Niamh Andrews, 10, and Anisha Roberts, 11, competed in a Wirral meet, Andrews claiming six gold medals with six personal bests and Roberts pocketing two golds and two silvers, including a pb in the 200m fly.

At the North Wales Sub-regional Meet in Llandudno, 13-year-old Sean Maddocks swam four times and achieved four pbs in the 200m backstroke, 400m free, 400m individual medley and 1,500m free, coming home with three silver medals.

In Northampton, brother and sister Sam Wild, 12, and Isobel, 11, competed in seven events each, Sam scoring four pbs, a gold, a silver and five top 10 places. Isobel returned two pbs, a silver and four top 10s.

At the same event Charles Lewis, 15, swam three times and won bronze in the 100 breaststroke.

Finally Charlotte Bryan, Swim Flintshire’s current tip for the top, won the 1,500m at Stockport Metro.

Performances like that have put Bryan in the frame for the Welsh squad for the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games alongside clubmates Lewis Smith and Aled Davies.

But their efforts may well be in vain if the council decides to go ahead and axe the Swim Flintshire programme.

“What we hope our results show is the potential of this county’s swimmers,” said Swim Flintshire head coach Stewart Clamp.

“If Swim Flintshire is cut, some lucky swimmers may find other programmes and win for other counties.

“Some may see their ambitions to represent their country killed off.

“With all respect to swimming clubs, they cannot offer the pool time, training and support athletes need to reach the top.

“There is nothing more we can do now, we just have to wait for the council’s decision.”