After 7 months closure for major repairs and refurbishment the pool is back in business, offering swimming in the town’s only ASA registered 25 metre competition pool.
World championships swimmer and Tigershark club member Jazz Carlin, who now trains in Swansea, and GB Olympic Squad swimmer Lewis Coleman from Sheffield joined Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport and a team of youngsters from Swindon Tigersharks swimming club to enjoy the new look facility.
Once the ceremonial breaking of the water Jazz and Lewis passed on valuable tips in a masterclass.
A huge amount of work has been required, much of it in areas invisible to anyone using it, but vital for the pool’s smooth operation. These included replacement of the ducts around the pool that circulate the water – large enough for someone to walk through – which were found to be seriously corroded – and much of the metal pipework.
Repairs were also needed to the filtering and cleaning systems and these have been replaced, whilst the 15,000 tiles in the pool tank were removed, the undersurface rendered again before new tiles were applied. The opportunity has also been taken to improve other parts of the pool, such as the paintwork, seating areas and replacing ladders. The total cost is likely to be around £300,000.
Coun Williams, a regular user of the pool, said he was delighted that it’s available again. "It has been hugely frustrating that one of the town’s most important sports facilities has not been available, but the structural faults were major and it was essential to have them fixed. We now have what is essentially a brand new pool."
Link Centre acting manager Di Milner said she was delighted to have the pool back in action. It was a view echoed by receptionist Shirley Burden who is the longest serving member of staff at Link Centre, joining before it opened to the public in early 1985. "It’s great that the pool has reopened. The centre has just not been the same with the loss of visitors using the pool. It’s going to be lovely to have the buzzing atmosphere back."
Lesley Leffers, member of the Tigersharks coaching team, said: "It was quite a shock when the borough council told us last August that the repairs on the pool would take longer than was expected. But we’d all agree the council staff worked with us and did a great job to help us find alternative venues to train.
"Squads have been at the Health Hydro, the Oasis and at the pool in Calne but despite the travelling, the levels of achievement have been excellent. The swimmers have done us proud; they dominated the recent Age Group Long Distance competition at Bath.
"But we’re glad to be back in our home pool and looking forward to holding training sessions and competitions."
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Photos: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com