A MULTI-TALENTED swimmer has become a county champion at the age of just 10.

Conan Swinney won gold in the 50m backstroke at the prestigious Northumberland and Durham County Championships, at Sunderland Aquatic Centre, in the 10 to 11 age category.

The youngster, from Crawcrook, also won a silver medal at the same event, in the 200m freestyle.

He came close to scooping more medals, after finishing fourth in now fewer than five other races.

Conan’s achievements have seen him qualify to compete at a regional event in Leeds, which will take place in May.

“We’re very proud of Conan”, said his mum Talia, who works in Hexham. “There is a high standard at the N&D championships, with competitors from Teesside, as well as across the whole of Northumberland and Durham.

“Conan loves his swimming and can do all four strokes. He’s always been good at it, and is very excited about qualifying for the regionals in Leeds.

“He will have to move up to the age 10 to 11 category in Leeds, and he doesn’t turn 11 until June, so it will be a challenge, especially with it being at an unfamiliar venue.”

Despite a handful of fourth placed finishes, Talia said her son was delighted with the two medals he did achieve.

She added: “He would have been disappointed if he didn’t get something for all of the effort he put in. I knew he really wanted something. He had the right attitude and he stuck to his task.”

The schoolboy’s achievements have been well earned. His training regime includes six pool sessions per week.

On Thursdays, he’s in the pool at 6am at Gateshead & Whickham Amateur Swimming Club, where he is a member, and he’s back in the water after school at 4.45pm.

Conan’s sister Millie (9) is also a talented swimmer, with breast stroke being her strongest discipline.

“It’s great to see them in the pool and enjoying themselves,” said Talia. “For Conan, the regionals is something to look forward to and I know it will be something he will focus on.”

Conan wasn’t born into a swimming family, but after taking it up as a young boy, he has gone from strength to strength.

“There’s a good community at the swimming club,” said Talia. “The support is there for swimmers to improve.”