A RAFT of 49 swimmers from local club Oswestry Otters embarked on the new decade with one of the largest teams to showcase at the 2020 Shropshire County Championships.

The championships were held at Wolverhampton Centre Baths, and ran over a period of five days with swimmers aged between 10 and 26 years old taking part in the 18 events.

Oswestry Otters not only turned heads at being one of the largest teams competing, but at the huge team of officials and volunteers they brought along to assist in the running of this event.

Tim Hastie, head coach of Oswestry Otters, praised the commitment of the club’s members to attend the event.

“We are one of the smallest clubs in the county, but had a fantastic 80 per cent of our competitive members attending and performing really well,” he said.

“Last year, we were in the top five clubs in the county medal table and this year was our chance to prove ourselves to be a rising and growing program, which we have truly showed!

“While we improved by a huge amount in medals, from 17 in 2019 to 63 this year, we finished in the top four.

“In addition to the amazing medal count, we also had more reasons to celebrate with four new county championship records this year and club members being placed first, second and third in the top boy and girl categories, resulting in a boom of eight 11-year-old swimmers selected for the swimming talent camps for 2020.

“Very proud coaches and parents all around.”

While in the water success has been blossoming, as a charity, the club has been trying to find fundraising or sponsors from the local area to help running costs.

“We are doing our utmost to not put the cost upon our members as we want them to stay in the local area and want continue to provide a community sport which can deliver an environment for young athletes to succeed,” Tim added.

“As a club, we are trying our best to give back to the community; we are hoping to receive a grant this from Swim England to organise and run a free school gala for all of our local primary and secondary schools.”

Oswestry Otters would also like to thank local company Popcreative LTD, for their help in creating the new club website, www.oswestryotters.club