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Swimming medal factory Stockport Metros in fight to survive cuts

June 17, 2013
Beijing 2008 : Keri-anne Payne and Cassie Patton

Beijing 2008 : Keri-anne Payne and Cassie Patton

Stockport Metros have secured more medals over the last five Games than any other British club.

Metros have secured more medals over the last five Games than any other British club. But that didn’t prevent British Swimming bosses controversially axing its elite training status and slashing budgets earlier this year.

The move also left the north of England without a prestigious high-performance Intensive Training Centre.

However, the Grand Central Pool-based club isn’t going down without a fight. Talks are planned with British Swimming bosses next month to try and claw back some of the lost money.

But to continue training top stars such as triple Commonwealth gold medalist James Goddard while developing future Olympians, Metros need a major cash injection.

A video promoting their fund-raising campaign has already proved an internet sensation since it was posted on YouTube two weeks ago.

Now, Metros bosses hope they can translate nearly 112,000 views into hard cash. “We’ve been blown away by the response,” said head coach Sean Kelly. “It’s been unbelievable.

“It’s so encouraging that people are taking the trouble to watch the promo film. Hopefully, we can turn the interest into major funding. When we had ITC status we had a budget of £350,000. And it’s probably fair to say a lot of it wasn’t always put to the best use. We had systems and people imposed on us.

“We’ve probably got more promising youngsters at the club now than in all my 20 years I’ve been involved. However, now we need that funding if we are to fulfil our potential and get some more Olympic medalists. We realise it’s a lot of money so a lesser amount over a more sustained period of time would be just as welcome.”

Graeme Smith became Stockport’s first Olympic medalist, winning bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Eight years later, Steve Parry took bronze in Athens before long-distance stars, Cassie Patten and Keri-anne Payne finished with an open water silver and bronze in Beijing. Goddard was fourth in Athens as was Payne in London.

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