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Marple swimming club

Diane Inglis

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MarpleMarple Swimming ClubMatt WalkerKatelyn BerginDan PepperLucy Budd

Lucy and Dan at a training session

Marple Swimming Club has been part of the town’s history for 84 years and has been the training ground for a number of champions.

From its modest red brick exterior, it could be easy to overlook the success it has created, but the baths, which was given to the people of Marple in 1931, has seen thousands of children and adults learn to swim over the years, some of whom have gone on to become top swimmers.

Paralympian Matt Walker MBE started lessons as a child back in the 1980s and went on to compete all over the world including the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Young swimmer, Katelyn Bergin, who started at Marple but now trains with Stockport Metro, is a definite star of the future and recently won several medals at the Amateur Swimming Association Nationals in Sheffield.

Similarly, Paralympian Dan Pepper, now the club’s senior coach and a personal trainer, first dipped his toe in the water there at the age of four, and went on to become a double world champion in 2010, three times European champion and held world and European records several times over.

Dan explained the club’s phenomenal success: “We want happy swimmers so encourage children to have lots of fun in the water.

“We teach through enjoyment and when they reach 14, they can assist the younger ones by becoming water helpers, which some of them use towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards.

“We like everyone to get involved at the club and many parents train as timekeepers and officials to help out at galas,” he said.

Dan is currently training for an ironman event in July and his fiancée, Natalie Massey, also a Paralympic swimmer who represented Great Britain in 2012, is training for a three-way relay swim across the English Channel this summer.

Another coach, Lucy Budd, who is a qualified PE teacher, uses her enthusiasm and expertise to get the best out of the young swimmers but explained that many also enjoy a wide range of sports as well as swimming.

“Swimming is a fantastic sport as it uses all the muscles in the body and because of that some of our swimmers are also really good at other sports.

“They have also enjoyed success in lacrosse, climbing and athletics and we have strong links with Marple Runners and Spinners and triathletes who want to improve their swimming abilities,” she added.

The club offers lessons for children from the age of four and training sessions from competitive swimming right through to adult lane swimming.

Lucy continued: “Because of where we live, with so many rivers, canals and lakes nearby, it is vital that everyone learns to swim. The baths is a wonderful part of the town and as such it has recently been listed as an Asset of Community Value to protect it for future generations.”

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