A RECORD-BREAKING Olympian is hoping a new swimming academy will make a real splash.

Chris Cook has launched Swim Buddies, which will cater for youngsters between four and 11-years-old.

The academy is based at The Education Village, in Darlington.

Loading article content

However, bosses say they hope to expand across County Durham and the Tees Valley in the next 12 months, creating a number of teaching jobs.

Mr Cook, who lives in Yarm, near Stockton, swam at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and was a double champion at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

He also broke the British and Commonwealth record for the first British man to break 60 seconds in the 100-metre breaststroke in 2008, and said he hopes Swim Buddies can inspire the next generation.

Mr Cook, Swim Buddies’ director and ambassador, said: “One of my favourite memories was learning to swim and a fun introduction to any sport is vital.

“The academy is our opportunity to give the best experience we can, and we will tailor sessions to target skills for every swimmer.”