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Top swimmers give masterclass as repaired pool reopens
TWO top swimmers led a masterclass at the re-vamped Link Centre pool to mark its re-opening to the public following £300,000 worth of improvements.
The facility at the ageing leisure centre, built in 1985, is set to re-open today after contractors laid 15,000 new tiles and replaced pipes and filters.
The pool closed in July for repairs which were expected to take six weeks, but structural issues with the ducts and internal concrete walls meant the reopening was pushed back until this month.
Yesterday, Jazz Carlin, a World Championship swimmer, and her boyfriend, Lewis Coleman, who is in the British swimming team, took the plunge in the newly-refilled pool to run a masterclass for children in the Swindon Tigersharks Amateur Swimming Club.
Jazz, 22, of Grange Park, who attended Wootton Bassett School, said: “I grew up swimming here from when I was about five-years-old – and it’s kind of like the pool of Tigersharks, which is my home club – so it’s great to be back: it looks fresh, which is great.
“I’m still a member of Tigersharks. I still come back. I try to help out as much as I can. It’s nice to be here and see so many excited children.”
Lewis added: “It’s a great little training pool. So many pools I have trained in are dull and horrible and this is going to be great for the kids to train in.”
Coun Keith Williams, cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport, was also one of the first swimmers into the water since the pool’s reconstruction.
He said the work had been completed on schedule and he hoped usage would increase, adding that there was a new public session from 8.30pm to 10pm on Tuesdays as a result in the shake-up of the schedule caused by the temporary closure.
He said: “The club was training at Milton Road so we looked at the timetable and in response to the Tigersharks wanting a slightly earlier session for the younger children we could get that capacity in the timetable for a later session for the public.”
Geoff Pearce, chairman of Tigersharks, said: “The work started last July was essential but with the extra problems they found it’s great credit to the council that they decided to invest further in the pool, given the financial climate.
“It now gives us a facility that hopefully we can use as a club for another 25 years. They have vastly improved the look of the pool.
“The Link has always been the home of Tigersharks and it allows us to start running our external galas again.”