FERNDOWN Otters' Nic Vaughan defeated all but two of Europe's 40 to 44-year-olds to claim a bronze medal at the European Masters Championships in Slovenia.

In fact both East Dorset's representatives in Kranj came home with a medal with Poole's Jean Howard-Jones collecting a relay gold with the Spencer Swim Team.

Vaughan, 43, won his medal in the men's 40-44yrs as he finished third behind a German and a Pole in the 100m butterfly in a long course time of 1:02.11.

He was also sixth in the 50m butterfly in 27.40 and eighth in the 50m freestyle in 25.99.

He withdrew from the 100m freestyle, which was sandwiched between the 50 butterfly and a relay.

In the relays, the Royal Marine chef from the Hamworthy base achieved four top 12 finishes with Royal Navy teams, including 10th in the men's 120-159yrs medley in which he clocked 27.91 on the butterfly leg and 11th in the freestyle (anchor leg 25.74).

In the mixed relays involving two men and two women per team, Vaughan's teams came 11th in the freestyle and 13th in the medley.

Jean Howard-Jones, 64, took her gold medal in the 200-239yrs 4x50m freestyle in which she contributed a 34.49-split to a team time of 2:09.12.

She was also in a Spencer team that came fourth in the 4x50m mixed freestyle.

In the individual events, Howard-Jones came seventh in the 60-64yrs 50 and 100m freestyle in 35.27 and 1:20.39.

THOMAS ACHIEVES BOURNEMOUTH teenager Meghan Thomas is among five young swimming coaches who have become the first in the country to receive Believe to Achieve scholarships from the Youth Sport Trust.

The girls, aged 16-18, were chosen by a national panel which included Olymp;ic champion Kelly Holmes.

Each of the five has received £500 to cover the costs of further coaching qualifications.

They have also been invited to join an Amateur Swimming Association mentoring scheme, where they will be given the chance to shadow talent development coaches.

The five - Meghan Thomas (Bournemouth Dolphins and East Dorset Open Water Club), Grace Parker and Amber Leigh-Cunningham (Plymouth Leander), Belinda Smith (Northampton) and Rachel Keeley (Ipswich) - were presented with their scholarships at the ASA Championships in Sheffield by England talent development manager Nick Sellwood.

"Believe to Achieve is a marvellous initiative which provides talented young coaches with fast-track experiences and opportunities to develop their coaching skills and achieve UKCC qualifications," said Sellwood.

"We are hoping members of this group will go on to form part of the next generation of performance coaches."