Our county-level athletes – the Performance Squad – were back in training in November, but could swim only one session at RiversMeet before everything was closed down the next day by the new lockdown. They resumed on 2 December, and our last session of the year will be Performance Squad on Wednesday 23 December.

The NDTSC Committee had accepted an invitation from RiversMeet to add the 90-minute, two-lane session on Wednesdays to their whole-pool evening slots on Tuesdays and Fridays, which restarted in late July after the first lockdown.

Almost all the club’s 12 Performance Squad swimmers attended the first December session after Lockdown 2.0, which included timed 50-metre sprint trials in the four strokes.

Head Coach Rich Brocklehurst said our swimmers have retained their fitness very well, despite having to rely on months of dryside training over the summer – and missing the spur of real competition.

“We introduced land training for swimmers aged 11 and above just over a year ago in the RiversMeet sports hall,” he said. “The skills they learned during the half-hour sessions immediately before swimming undoubtedly helped them stay match-fit through the first lockdown, and it will help them with this one.”

NDTSC entered 16 swimmers at the most recent Dorset County Championships, at Bournemouth’s Littledown Centre in February. Almost all clocked up at least one personal best for a squad total of 42; the team gained four silver and two bronze medals.