SWIMMERS have enjoyed taking their first dip in the refurbished swimming pool at the Link Centre.

The pool was open to the public for the first time yesterday following £300,000 worth of improvements, and it was busy as children enjoyed a wet start to the half term.

The facility at the ageing leisure centre, built in 1985, reopened 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.

Fiona Wright, 38, from Red-house, was one of the first to try out the new pool yesterday with her nine-year-old daughter Sophie.

She said: “It is great that this facility is back available to the public, it feels like it has been closed for a long time and is a big asset.

“Especially during half term when the weather is as bad as it is there is not a lot else for us to do with the children.”

Lisa Pole, 43, from Shaw also welcomed the reopening of the pool and said the revamp was long overdue.

She said: “It is a breath of fresh air, and has been a long time coming.

“I am not sure why it took so long to complete but I am just glad it has been done and hopefully the council will start working on other tired looking buildings.”

Jazz Carlin, a World Champion-ship swimmer, and her boyfriend, Lewis Coleman, who is in the British swimming team, took the plunge in the newly-refilled pool on Sunday to run a masterclass for children in the Swindon Tigersharks Amateur Swimming Club.

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.”