North Devon’s newest swimming club is under threat after becoming a victim of its own success.

North Devon Marlins Swim Academy is less than a year old but its talented youngsters have stunned coaches after achieving top 10 placings at the Devon County Championships.

This included a seventh place for club captain Jacob Shobbrook and Ed Cork who came fifth in his final.

But without sponsorship and support it is feared this wealth of talent could be lost and with it a new generation of swimmers with possible national-level potential.

The club is run by Heather Burke and her son Greg, both trained coaches who do all the teaching as well as the club admin.

Heather does it for nothing but she pays Greg a wage as he gave up his job as a lifeguard to help her.

Since it was formed in March 2017 the club has grown from eight to 80 children, including several with special needs, but swimming is not a cheap sport.

Heather said: “We pay £2,000 a month in pool hire fees and it is becoming a strain on parents, but sport should not be means-tested.

“It has got to the point where we are going to start losing some of the kids because they can’t afford it. I did not realise we would do so well, so quickly, whereas other older clubs already have sponsorship in place.

“To get to county level within 10 months of starting the club is ridiculous.”

They are hoping local companies might be willing to sponsor a gala, or a child, or offer help towards transport fees or pool hire.

Heather has been a swimming teacher since she was 16 and had taught at three swim schools and North Devon leisure Centre for the past 10 years.

As well as funding, the club desperately needs more voluntary help, particularly with admin such as social media, developing a website and using the HY-TEK Meet Manager software required for entering swimming galas.

Heather added: “We are desperately seeking sponsorship and grants. In return our children would be positive ambassadors for any company that invests in us.”

If you can help, or would like to find out more, visit www.northdevonmarlins.co.uk or call Heather Burke on 01271 871302.