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Stockport Metro celebrate Stephen Parry's bronze
Stockport Metro celebrate Parry's bronze

It's a swimming bronze for Stockport

Stephen Parry’s bronze at the Olympics is Britain’s first swimming medal for eight years and some of that success comes from Stockport. Parry is a member of Stockport Metro and the swimming club were on tenterhooks watching the Scouser grab third.

More on Stockport Metro

  • Stockport Metro formed in 1974
  • Past and present members include:

    Commonwealth gold medallist James Goddard

    Olympic bronze medallist Graeme Smith

    Four times World 200m Butterfly Champion James Hickman

    Commonwealth silver medallist Vicky Horner

    Paralympic swimmer Sarah Bailey MBE
  • They were top GB swimming club last year
  • Known worldwide, they have around 150 members, ranging from eight year olds to the four members of Team GB in Athens
  • Anyone wanting to get involved with the club should contact Swim Stockport on 0161 480 5138 or visit the Grand Central Pools in Stockport for more information.

Stephen Parry with his bronze medal in Athens
Stephen Parry with his bronze medal in Athens

One of Metro’s Assistant Coaches, Julie Bennett, had every faith in Parry, despite the tension. “He exceeded expectations. He went there to get a medal and he’s done the job.” She says it’s his personality that drives him and those he swims with. “Team spirit with Steve around is exceptional and he’s an inspiration to the younger kids on the team.”

After his race, Parry spoke of his own starting point when, at the of 11, he got up to see  British swimmer (and BBC commentator) Andy Jameson’s podium finish in the 200m Butterfly at the Seoul Olympics. Head Junior Coach Ben Lafferty hopes that the same feelings will run through the junior Metro team after watching Parry.

Head Junior Coach Ben Lafferty
Head Junior Coach Ben Lafferty

“Steve watched in 1988 when Andy Jameson got a bronze. He was inspired by that and hopefully some of the youngsters here will see the value of hard work, be inspired by Steve and follow his example.”

There’s no denying that swimming to Parry’s standard is hard work. “Typically, he’ll do two hour training sessions. Actually, this year he’s trained two and half hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.” Lafferty says no-one could fault his commitment. “He trained on Christmas Day. He came across from Liverpool and was in the pool. That was a statement of intent as to how much he wanted it.”

Assistant Coach Julie Bennett
Assistant Coach Julie Bennett

Parry’s success should mean the continuation of a growing reputation in Stockport, according to Julie Bennett. “We have links with 10 local clubs and are a centre of excellence for them. The links with them are informal but are getting better all the time. Thanks to Stockport Sports Trust, we’ve got the support we need to instil a top standard into the youngsters, and having the junior programme swim at the same time as the Olympians helps. There’s a realisation amongst them that this is something they’re going to do, rather than it being a dream.”

Ben Lafferty with Stockport Metro supporters
Ben Lafferty with Stockport Metro supporters

The celebrations will go on long beyond Parry’s return, but it’s not the first time the club has tasted such success. That last bronze that Britain won in Atlanta eight years ago? That was picked up by Parry’s Metro team-mate Graeme Smith. It seems there’s something of an Olympic tradition happening down there. So look out world, Stockport’s coming!

last updated: 01/09/04
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