VIRTUAL training sessions, peer to peer mentoring, diet tips and inspirational talks from competitive athletes, have been the order of the day for Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club members during lockdown.

Members were celebrating as swimming pools opened to the public and they return to their regular training, albeit with strict safety control measures in place.

Richmond Dales ASC, which trains at Catterick and Richmond swimming pools, is known for the wide range of swimmers it supports. Swimmers from seven-years-old are welcomed into the club's youth, fitness, elite, masters and para swimming squads. The club also has close links with GB Down Syndrome Swimming and reached out to this squad to provide mentoring support during the lockdown period.

The Swimming Club has expressed gratitude to Olympian swimmers Hannah Miley, Chris Cook, Ross Davenport, James Guy, European Champion springboard diver Grace Reid and Para Olympic Finalist Stephen Clegg for providing club members with a range of talks and question and answer sessions whilst the pools were out of bounds.

In addition to these sessions, and land based training via Zoom, coaches have held cookery sessions online showing swimmers how to prepare their own healthy snacks for before and after training and competitions.

Lockdown has had serious financial implications for the club, with pool training being suspended. However members have stepped up to the mark by accepting the "8:5:3" challenge and raising sponsorship money for pool equipment.

The name of the challenge represents the letters in the club’s name (8-Richmond, 5-Dales, 3-ASC) and using the numbers, each individual had to come up with their own physical challenge to complete. The only rule was they needed to include all three numbers.

Megan Tait, a year eight student at Richmond School, chose to do an 8km bike ride, a 5km run and a 3km row, five times a week for three weeks – an incredible achievement.

Keith Hall, club development officer and coach at Richmond Dales ASC, said: “We are extremely proud of all of our athletes who have remained active and committed throughout this really difficult period. The individual challenges were extremely imaginative and helped to keep the swimmers fit and focused. The funds raised so far really did exceed our expectations but we still have a way to go to fully fund what we need. We would like to thank all of our swimmers, coaches, parents and supporters.”

To donate, visit their Justgiving page at

Richmond Dales ASC was formed in 1976 and has a long record of producing top level swimmers all the way up to Olympic athletes. To continue with its plans to expand and to help identify the next generation of elite athletes, Richmond Dales ASC is keen to attract new swimmers to the club to give them the opportunity to experience competitive swimming training. Anyone interested in joining Richmond Dales for these sessions can contact the club by emailing