WHO ARE YOU: Huddersfield Otters
PROJECT: The group needs money to train lifeguards and teachers and wants to install new storage units
HUDDERSFIELD Otters need cash to ensure the club’s long-term survival.
Next year will mark 60 years since it was founded – with roots going back 88 years – and it has to move with the times in terms of new regulations laid down by the Amateur Swimming Association.
This means that all clubs need to meet strict training criteria and Huddersfield Otters will have to invest in this to bring the club up to date.
Club treasurer Dave Hill said: “If we don’t make sure our trainers and lifeguards have the right qualifications then we won’t be able to continue as a club. We’ve been in existence for many decades and it’s never been a problem in the past.’’
It costs £150 to train one lifeguard. The club also needs some money for plastic storage units for all its equipment.
The club is primarily one for water polo players and coach Paul Bentley has five teams featuring 50 players ranging from under 16s up to two senior teams.
At present the club’s claim to fame is 17-year-old Josh Smith from Shelley, a young goalkeeper who has already played for England at age group level.
He is rated as one of the country’s top stoppers and is in line to represent Great Britain at the London Olympics in 2012.
Over the years the club has also taught young swimmers to bring them up to the right standard to play water polo.
The club, which has more than 100 members aged from four to 14, meets at both Huddersfield Sports Centre and the pool at the Galpharm Stadium.
The roots of Huddersfield Otters Amateur Swimming Club can be traced right back to Lockwood Amateur Swimming Club, an all-male organisation founded in 1919 which had its headquarters at Lockwood Baths until these were closed in 1937.
It moved on to Ramsden Street Baths in 1937 and in the late 1940s switched to Cambridge Road where it remained for almost half a century.
In 1998 the Otters moved to Huddersfield Sports Centre.
The water polo teams compete in Division 1 of the Wakefield and District League – which also involves outfits from other parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire – and Division 2 of the Northern League which is home to teams from both sides of the Pennines.