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Shropshire swimming club launches appeal to stay afloat

By Deborah Hardiman | Oswestry | Coronavirus | Published:

The future of a swimming club nurturing two Tokyo Olympic Games hopefuls is at risk due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Some of the younger members of the Otters Swimming Club which is facing a cash crisis due to lockdown

Oswestry Otters Amateur Swimming Club which opened more than four decades ago said it will now struggle to stay afloat after its main gala fundraising event was cancelled and pools have remained closed.

Restrictions have already resulted in all team training being suspended.

Team GB hopefuls Tim Bridgewood, 24, and Morgan Jones, 18, will be forced to wait until next year to compete in Olympic trials.

The club’s more than 70 members usually train at pools at Oswestry and Moreton Hall schools and Oswestry Leisure Centre along with Oswestry Open Space Studios CIC which is also shut.

Now the club, which was launched 44 years ago, is hoping to attract £3,000 from an online fundraising appeal towards the cost of resuming activities after lockdown. Action to make savings have included head coach Tim Hastie working at reduced hours.

Mr Hastie said: “This Covid-19 situation has put everything on hold. Prior to the lockdown we were constantly needing an influx in revenue. I have been fortunate that the club has been able to support me on reduced pay.

“As a result I’ve been able to continue to provide video content. It is unknown when we can reopen. e are getting close to our funding safety net. The club has had to pull back on my hours to reduce the deficit which is why we’re trying to pull some money back and £3,000 would put us back on track.”

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Repercussions

“We have two swimmers who were getting very close to the Olympic qualifying times and who were poised to compete in the British Championships in May. They’re hoping to try again next year,” Mr Hastie added.

To support the club visit the website https://oswestryotters.club/justgiving/

In a statement the club said: “With pools and gyms not being in the list of facilities allowed to open in England on July 4, it is having huge negative repercussions on the club and its swimmers. The club is now surviving on a shoe string and urgently needs help.

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“The swimmers have had to put all their swimming aspirations on hold. Two Otters were training for the Tokyo Olympic trials. These have been cancelled together with all foreseeable 2020 galas such as The Arena League, which the Otters would have taken part in, until Swim England gives the go ahead.

“To make matters worse, in order to save the club, head coach Tim Hastie has had his hours reduced by the club’s committee team to avoid the club using all its contingency reserves.”

At the Shropshire County championships held earlier this year the Otters won 63 medals finishing in the top four.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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