IT HAS been a busy time in the pool for youngsters from Southend on Sea Swimming Club.

The club held its first Academy gala of 2012, and 45 young swimmers – some as young as four years old took part as supporting family and friends packed out the gallery.

Head coach Helen Lawton said: ‘The gala was excellent, there was a great atmosphere and the children enjoyed the experience.

“There are some very promising young swimmers for the future coming through the system.”

The Academy was created in January 2011 after the club moved to Garon Park.

Its aim was to deliver sustainable Learn to Swim pathways, and this was made possible using water time provided in partnership with a local swim school.

By September the club had achieved the Swim21 kitemark accreditation from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) in recognition of the quality of the programme.

And 16 months on, the programme is going from strength to strength.

Children can join the Academy from as young as four-years-old in the Learn to Swim programme.

They progress through the stages of the ASA until they are ready to join the club’s development squads.

Some of the children who have recently progressed took part recently in the first gala of the Junior Speedo League at Braintree Pool.

Swimmers aged from eight to 12 years old represented the club in the first gala of the series.

And they will be in action again in round two of the event at Braintree Pool at the end of May.