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Richmond Fire Engineers Ltd generously donate £5000 to support our club

Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club (RDASC) is set to benefit thanks to a very generous £5000 donation from a local business.

Richmond Fire Engineers Ltd, a highly respected fire protection firm based in the North Yorkshire market town, has made the donation in recognition of the Club’s work to support local people to get the best out of their swimming journey.

Richmond Dales ASC has dedicated provision for children and young people of all abilities, as well as an excellent Masters squad and a highly regarded Para team. The club serves a very broad geographic area and runs several supplemental schemes to encourage people of all ages and stages into the sport.

Indeed, it was via one of these initiatives that Chris Ryde, joint Managing Director at Richmond Fire Engineers, was first introduced to the Club when his then eight-year-old daughter, Amber, signed up for a taster course as part of the ‘Aspire to Swim’ programme back in 2017. Once the 10-week scheme ended, Amber was hooked, and five years later, she remains with RDASC as one of the club’s fantastic young swimmers.

Chris & his business partner Lee Smith first approached RDASC about making a donation just prior to the pandemic. Impressed by the club’s work both in the pool and across the wider community, Chris & Lee initially pledged £2500 to support the club’s ongoing financial viability. As the pandemic hit, and with the huge loss of income RDASC faced, this donation turned out to be incredibly important.

As the club continues to recover from the impact of Covid-19, Chris & Lee recently pledged a further £2500 in celebration of his business’ 30th birthday. This money will support the development of a new website which will offer a wider range of functionality for existing members and will also act as a ‘shop front’ to help attract an even wider membership base. This latter point is particularly important for RDASC, because along with fundraising, membership is its only source of income. The club manages to ‘punch above its weight,’ and make so much happen thanks to its very committed coaches and an army of unpaid volunteers. Donations of this nature are, therefore, hugely valuable.

Because of Covid restrictions, Chris was only able to present the Club with the combined donation of £5000 very recently. When on poolside presenting the Club’s Head Coach with the donation, Chris commented:

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am proud to call myself Richmond born and bred. It’s a town I love, and I really believe that RDASC represents the best that the district has to offer It’s fantastic to be able to be back at the pool and to see how much the swimmers have progressed. I’m very happy that our initial donation of £2500 helped the club get through those dark months during Covid when everything ground to a halt. I’m also delighted that the subsequent donation of a further £2500 will support RDASC to future-proof it’s website, helping to provide existing members with the quality information they need, whilst reaching new potential members with news of all the club’s inspiring work..”

RDACS Head Coach, Gordon Rea, said of the donation:

“We are incredibly thankful to Chris, Lee and their business, Richmond Fire Engineers Ltd, for their continued championing of the club. It’s clear that Chris takes a great deal of pride in his association with RDASC as we support his daughter through her swimming journey. However, I also know that he appreciates the wider work we do within our fantastic Para and Masters squads, and within the wider community also.”

RDACS Chair, Steve Jones, added:

“Huge thanks to Chris, Lee and all the team at Richmond Fire Engineers Ltd. In a small community like Richmond, it’s great to see so many people collaborating to make great things happen. The money that we have received here will help us support our members and introduce even more people to swimming from across the community.”

RDASC Appoints New Head Coach

Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club (RDASC) has appointed Gordon Rea as the club’s new Head Coach.

Gordon joins Richmond Dales from Exeter Swimming Club where he has been assistant Head Coach since 2018. Like RDASC, Exeter is a club with its roots firmly in the community, focussed on equipping members with the skills and mindset they need to succeed in the pool, and throughout life.

Prior to his position as Assistant Head Coach at Exeter Swimming Club, Gordon enjoyed a varied and fulfilling career. From being a very successful age group swimmer himself, Gordon spent 30 years in the Police Force, during which time he also coached part time at a variety of North East regional clubs.

Upon retiring from the Police, Gordon was able to pursue his passion full time and became Head Coach at Hartlepool ASC.  From here, Gordon gained further experience at City of Sunderland and City of Newcastle swim clubs and was instrumental in creating what is now Newcastle Swim Team, where he was Head Coach for a time. Before moving into his most recent post at Exeter, Gordon relocated to Spain with his family where he coached with the Gibraltar ASA.

Gordon joins RDASC’s fellow coaches Keith Hall, Callum Hall, Zoe Cowan and Suzanne Harpur. Speaking about the appointment, RDASC Chair, Steve Jones, said:

“Gordon will be a fantastic addition to our club. He has a great track record for bringing swimmers through and developing them across a variety of strokes and distances.

“Working with the wider coaching team, we look forward to seeing what Gordon can bring to Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club as we continue to grow our success.”

Gordon himself is delighted to be taking the next step in his coaching career with RDASC. He said:

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead Richmond Dales. We already have a fantastic team of coaches and volunteers in place along with talented and committed swimmers. I am looking forward to working with the with the wider team to build on our success.”

Richmond Dales Rallies to Support Young Ukrainian Swimmers

The Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club community has rallied together to support two young Ukrainian swimmers and their family to build a new life in the UK.

Along with their mother Irina, Tymofii and Tkyhon are due to arrive in the UK within days. Upon their arrival, they will be welcomed into their new home by a Richmond Dales ASC swim parent as part of the UK’s Ukrainian re-settlement scheme. Once settled, coaches at the Richmond and Catterick based club will waiting in the wings to introduce the two committed young swimmers, who formerly swam for a Kyiv based club, to their new teammates and training programme.

Like their fellow Ukrainians, the boys and their mother have endured huge upheaval in recent weeks and months. Their arrival in the UK precedes them fleeing their home in Ukraine to Bulgaria, where, for a short period the boys were able to enjoy some semblance of normality thanks to the generosity of the Bulgarian Swimming Federation, which gave access to training sessions and other support.

When the team at Richmond Dales ASC, based in Richmond and Catterick pools and serving a broad geographic area, learnt that one of their members was involved in providing a home for the family, the club’s Board and coaches sprang into action.

The Board quickly pledged to waive membership fees for both swimmers, allowing them to train and continue their swimming careers. Along with Swim England, which has also agreed to waive the boys’ annual membership fees, the club is also raising money via a Go Fund Me page to pay for the family’s flight into the UK from Bulgaria. In addition, friends of the club, including NESS Swimwear, are rallying round to supply the boys with everything they will need to train effectively, including goggles, fins, kick-boards, snorkels, kit bags and anything else they may need.

Keith Hall, Coach at Richmond Dales ASC said:

“The whole club community has been touched by the crisis taking place in Ukraine. At the outset of the war, club members raised £1900 in under 24 hours and used the money to buy essential supplies. We then drove the supplies across Europe and into Poland as part of the Catterick and Colburn community effort, headed by Councillor Angie Dale.

Keith goes on:

As soon as we heard that a club member was taking a refugee family into their home we knew we wanted to help, and the fact that the boys are keen swimmers made us able to do this more easily.  As ever, the whole club has come together along with some very generous friends like NESS Swimwear and Swim England. We hope that enabling the boys to join our supportive club will help them settle into their new environment and transition into UK life.”

The Go Fund Me page that has been set up to raise money to cover the costs of the family’s flights into the UK can be found at:

Fundraiser by Emma Griffin : Ukranian swimming family to travel to UK (

Any funds that are raised over and above the modest £500 target will be channelled towards funding the boys’ continuing development at the club including travel costs and competition entry fees.

Young Swimmers Raise £1150 in 24 Hours for Ukraine

A community of young swimmers from Richmond Dale Amateur Swimming Club have banded together to raise an incredible £1150 for the Ukrainian relief effort in just 24 hours.

The club, which has 130 members between the ages of 7 and 60 and boasts both Masters and Para squads, serves a wide rural geographic area across the Yorkshire Dales. Based out of Richmond and Catterick pools, the club has a long tradition of fundraising to ensure the survival of the club. However, the emerging situation in Ukraine has prompted the club to raise money in support of a very different cause.

Indeed, the situation in Ukraine is particularly close to home for Richmond Dale ASC, as one of the Para Squad’s talented young stars is of Ukrainian heritage. This, along with witnessing the crisis unfold in recent days spurred the club into one of its most ambitious fundraisers to date, as Coach Keith Hall explains:

“As a club we are watching on in dismay as the crisis in Ukraine escalates. Our thoughts immediately turned to one of our brilliant young Para swimmers, whose mother is Ukrainian and who has family in the country. Then, of course, we realised just how many children, young people and families would be suffering in unimaginable circumstances over there and we knew we had to do something.”

Keith and the wider club sprang into action to find out how they could help. Understanding that the best way to show their support would be to provide critical aid including medicines, baby products, and non-perishable food items, the team launched a 24-hour flash fundraiser asking squad members to donate anything they could afford, with all the money raised going towards the purchase of essential items. As Keith explains, the responses went beyond all expectations:

“Everything happened very fast. We had a quick discussion on Saturday morning and put a call to action out to squads via email and on our social media channels the next day. We were against the clock, though, as we knew that we had to close the campaign in just 24 hours. This was so we had enough time to purchase the necessary goods and send them out with an aid convoy that was leaving locally on Tuesday. Just 24 hours after we got the message out, we had already received £1150 in donations. We were astounded.”

With the money raised, Keith and his fellow Coaches were able to purchase essential items so desperately needed by those affected by the war. The team delivered trollies filled with dried and canned foods, baby milk, personal care items and medicines to Colburn Community Hub, which has been serving as a collection point, on Monday afternoon.

Reflecting on the club’s achievement, Keith said:

“Our club might not be the biggest, but we certainly have the biggest heart. Our swimmers go the extra mile every day in the pool, so it’s no surprise that the wider Richmond and Dale ASC community went the extra mile for this campaign and the people of Ukraine. It’s team spirit like this that sets us apart and makes us the brilliant club we are. We hope that the little we have been able to do makes a difference to someone affected by the conflict.”

April Fool Gala 19/20 March 2022 – is now FULL

Please note that this gala is now FULL and we will not be accepting any further swims.

You can check your accepted entries here 

After a two year break due to the pandemic, we are looking forward to welcoming swimmers and their clubs to this fantastic meet.

If you are a training or a qualified official and are able to help at the competition, please email our lead referee John Flynn:

Key information:

Date: Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March 2022
Venue: John Charles Centre for Sport, Middleton Grove, Leeds LS11 5DJ
Gale: Level 3 – long course
Timings: 08.00m warm up and 09.00am start (both days). Estimated finish time 17.00 (both days)


All the information you need is listed below or visit the event page on our website here

Club Championships 2022 – Thank You!

After missing out on being hold the Club Championships last year, I think we more than made up for it this year – what a series of races! Congratulations to all that took part, you are all winners.

It was great to see so many swimmers taking part, from the very youngest experiencing their first, to those that this will be their last championships. There was some fantastic racing and some incredible times – well done swimmers, you are a credit to the Club. Of course, these championships cannot take place without the willingness of the many volunteers who give their time freely. Thank you all, to the officials, the timekeepers, the team managers and marshalls, gala organisers and the coaches for preparing the swimmers. I feel I must give special praise to Caroline Ovenstone whose tireless work behind the scenes and the countless hours of work beforehand, enabled these galas to take place. I did notice a few more grey hairs last night Caroline.

Thank you for making me a contented, proud Chair.

Kind regards

Steve Jones