A SWIMMING specialist is warning that Chester will be left high and dry unless funding to qualify new coaches can be found.

Just last week a junior club was forced to cut down on its number of classes after a coach quit and with no new coaches qualifying it could spell the end for Chester’s swimming lessons.

Chester University swimming development officer Dave Burgham said: “Unless we can start finding a source of funding that is realistic and affordable for people, there’s a potential for there to be no qualified teachers in the area in 10 years.

“From a local perspective there’s been nothing going on for a year. The last course I ran was in June last year under the old system.”

Changes by national swimming body the Amateur Swimming Association have meant costs to coach new trainers have soared.

“In a nutshell, the Amateur Swimming Association changed their qualification structure last September to the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate. The Government said they would fund the UKCC so all the sports bodies have gone over to them. It’s all down to money,” said Dave.

“All courses have to be run at approved centres and those centres have to pay £1,000 a year to register to run courses.

“Unfortunately they didn’t approve the City Baths, despite us running courses for more than 30 years and only having two failures.

“The level one coaching course we were doing was £120, now it’s £375. Level two was £250 and it’s now £670. And the nearest centre is in Liverpool.

“For the likes of Total Fitness and David Lloyd, that sort of money is written off without thinking about it. But for the average person, like our volunteers, they can’t afford it.”

Dave, who has been delivering courses in Chester for more than 10 years, does inspections for the ASA and is a secretary of Chester City Baths.

He added: “The university are going to have a centre, I’m working on that. We are going to have to charge between £295 and £375.”