WINSFORD Swim Team is an emerging force in outdoor competitions according to their head coach.

And Dan Goodwin used as evidence the fact that five youngsters have reached the qualifying standard for next month's Swim England Open Water National Age Group Championships in Sheffield.

"We continue to be a big player," he said.

"It's an area of the sport that is growing every year, which means the standard is improving and more swimmers are giving it a go."

The club was represented by 15 swimmers at the Swim England North West Open Water Festival and one claimed a regional title.

Lewis Turner was fastest of the under 13s boys over 2km at Salford Quays, where teammate Ross Hanley took silver.

They occupied the same positions in the Cheshire Open Water Festival, incorporated in the larger event.

Alissa Blackshaw and Henry Oliver were runners-up in their respective age-group categories after competing over 5km, both of them winning a county gold.

Theo Oliver was third in the north west standings for under 14s boys after a 3km race.

That group are now in training for the national event at Rother Valley Country Park on Monday, August 5.

Goodwin said: "On an annual basis we have performed well in open water and our swimmers have shown a tremendous attitude and great determination.

"We had a large number of them, and a wide range of ages too, at the regional competition and they adjusted to hot conditions superbly well to record some outstanding results."