Clitheroe’s Emma swims onto national stage

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CLITHEROE teenager Emma Fox has swum her way into the British Gas National Age Groups swim-off at Ponds Forge International Arena, Sheffield which starts on Saturday.

This is a top accolade for any up and coming young swimmer and Emma has surpassed her own expectations by qualifying for three individual events.

Emma learnt to swim at Stonyhurst Pool, and joined Clitheroe Dolphins just before turning six.

Eager to progress and compete, by the age of 10, Emma had made her way to Preston Swimming Club.

Under the guidance of head coach Steve Heaps, the last two years have seen Emma go from strength to strength.

In May 2011 she narrowly missed qualifying for the nationals in her individual event of 100m freestyle by .04 of a second.

She did, however, make the nationals last year in the 4x100m freestyle girls Under 14 relay team, along with another Clitheroe swimmer Millie Wood and two other Preston team mates.

Having tasted swimming at that level, she was determined to get to the nationals in an individual event this year.

In April, Emma swam for Preston in the National Arena Finals held annually at Ponds Forge.

This is a team event and Emma was chosen to swim the Under 14 100m butterfly.

Emma stepped up to the mark, gaining valuable points for the team and achieving her first national qualifying time.

Emma swam again at the North West Regional Age Groups in May at Manchester Aquatics, over two weekends.

She had achieved 10 regional qualifying times but was selective in the swims she chose to compete in; a tactical move to save energy which worked for Emma because the second weekend saw her earn another two qualifying times in the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle - fantastic achievement.

Emma will swim a further three events at the Nationals with three of her team mates from Preston, in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay.

Head coach of Preston Swimming Club, Steve Heaps, said: “Emma is a young swimmer with a very bright future indeed.

“To achieve three national qualifying times for one so young is a true testament to all the hard work and dedication Emma puts into her training.

“She truly has come of age this season and I see no reason at all why she cannot continue her progression.

“To make our national 14/under relay teams at the tender age of 12 really does show what potential she has.

“I look forward very much in helping Emma reach her full potential.”