Town to bid for an Olympic pool
AN OLYMPIC pool used by the world’s top swimmers could be relocated to the Link Centre after the summer’s Games.
Swindon Council is to bid to the London 2012 Organising Committee to get about £1m worth of top-of-the-range equipment used in a temporary training pool, based in London.
A 50metre pool, incorporating this key equipment, would be constructed in a new £5m building on the site of the Link’s 3G sports pitches, which would be relocated elsewhere on the site.
The pool, which would replace the existing 25m pool, would be Swindon’s first Olympic-sized pool and would allow the town to host more swimming galas.
The nearest Olympic-sized pool is at the University of Bath.
Coun Keith Williams, cabinet member for leisure and corporate services, said: “It would bring an excellent venue. It will bring far more people to Swindon for swimming galas and the like.
“Obviously we have some already-established swimming clubs in the town, but if you look at the provision for swimming galas and look at the Link Centre, the pool is a little bit limited.
“It’s an ageing pool. It’s in a good condition still but when opportunities like this come along for a more modern swimming pool and the running costs are comparable, it’s something we should look at.”
Coun Williams said the council would have to find the money to build the pool building, probably through borrowing, but it would be more energy-efficient and cost a similar amount to run as the existing pool, which would no longer be used.
He said, if the bid were successful, he hoped the pool would be installed in 2013 when the plant system for the ice rink would also be upgraded. A trainer pool would be built inside the building as well.
Coun Williams said the Link was chosen because it is already a sports hub and has the available land.
He said the council was still in the early stages of working up the bid with the help of the Amateur Swimming Association, which had ‘looked favourably’ on the application, although the pool’s owners, LOCOG, would make the final decision on who would get the facility.
Bernie Brannan, Swindon Council’s board director for service delivery, said the council was working out how to pay for the building costs and how the space currently occupied by the 25m pool could help towards this.
The news was welcomed by Geoff Pearce, the chairman of swimming club Swindon Tigersharks ASA, which has about 200 members, trains at the Link, and has produced championship swimmers including Jaz Carlin and Grant Turner.
He said: “There’s a number of swimming clubs in and around the town and that sort of facility would be an absolutely massive boost for the sport.”
A spokeswoman for the ASA said that there are three 50m pools up for grabs at Eton Manor, in London, which has temporary training pools for participants in aquatics events at the Games.