PIONEER 79 Swimming Club just missed out on the Division One title - but they will still be competing against the elite in the North West of England Premier League next season.
The team travelled to the Manchester Aquatics Centre on Sunday bidding to clinch the title after an impressive show in the qualifying galas to finish top and reach the eight team showdown.
They needed to finish in the top three to make it into the top league next season - for the first time in more than 20 years for the club - and they got off to a strong start.
Some impressive relay swims meant that they opened up a two point gap over main rivals Southport and Newton Hall (Blackpool) after 12 events.
The swimmers remained in terrific form throughout the next set of events maintaining their narrow lead going into the second half of the gala.
Unfortunately, though, some disappointing individual events put Pioneer into second place going into the final set of relays.
In these, Pioneer produced some outstanding swims - especially with many competing against older age groups.
The magnificent relay swims meant that Pioneer were gradually chipping away at the gap between themselves and the leaders Southport.
However, they fell just six points adrift of what would have been a fantastic victory.
Head Coach Lee Stringfellow said: "Although slightly disappointed at missing out on the winners trophy, we have successfully been promoted to the Premier Division, which puts us in the top 16 clubs in the North West.
"Our swimmers have been a credit to themselves and the club, and I am confident we can not only survive, but give a very good account of ourselves next year in the toughest competition North West swimming has to offer."