Swimmers make a splash against odds

Step Rock Geordie Wotherspoon winners
Step Rock Geordie Wotherspoon winners

A St Andrews swimming club is continuing to punch well above its weight in Fife despite having nowhere near the facilities of other groups.

The Step Rock Swimming Club, which just last week put in a dominant showing at the Geordie Wotherspoon/Fife Championships, is competing against clubs who are training in new pools week in week out.

Across Fife, heavy investment has gone into leisure centres in Dunfermline, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.

North east Fife has not had that level of spending but, despite this, Step Rock coach Sharon Hedley says the club’s youngsters continue to out-perform their rivals through their dedication and the help of volunteers.

Sharon added: “Investment has gone into other areas of Fife but, in St Andrews, we only have a four lane leisure pool to train in which makes things difficult.

“The staff are great at the East Sands and take time out to help us as much as they can at pool side, but the fact is that other clubs simply have more time in the pool than us and better facilities.

“The ropes we use between the lanes for instance are almost ruined.

“But the kids have been doing really well over the past year despite the difficulties.”

Due to boiler and ventilation work at East Sands, the club is now flitting nomadically between other facilities.

St Leonards School has offered extra pool time.

The club has also been offered some lanes in the pool at Cupar Sports Centre, together with a session at Madras’ Kilrymont pool in St Andrews.

Andy MacLellan, sports partnership manager, said Fife Council has invested £55 million in three new sports facilities as part of the Future of Leisure programme, including a facility of regional calibre at Glenrothes.

He added there are “no plans at present” to make any further capital investments in leisure centre facilities, but the Council and Fife Sport and Leisure Trust is making ongoing investments in programmes of maintenance.

“At East Sands this will involve work to upgrade and modernise the plant room in the near future,” he said.

“In addition, other recent investment in sport facilities in north east Fife has included a new 3G synthetic pitch in Cupar with further investment of £450,000 for the Howe of Fife recently announced as part of the Community Investment Fund.

“Plans for a new Madras also include an array of community use sporting facilities too.”