Two championship swimmers, and a Swindon councillor, will be marking the reopening of the pool at Link Centre on Sunday 10 February, and the public are invited to watch from 10am.
Former Tigersharks swimmers, current World Championship swimmer Jaz Carling and GB Olympic Squad swimmer Lewis Coleman, will be diving into the pool with Cllr Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport, the first swimmers into the water since the pool’s reconstruction.
Once the symbolic breaking of the water has taken place, keen athlete Cllr Williams will take part in a Tigersharks masterclass until midday.
The event is being organised by Swindon Tigersharks swimming club who train at the pool but have had to practice elsewhere since August when a temporary 6 week closure for maintenance turned into a seven month saga after major problems were discovered.
Watching the pool fill up Richard Bishop, left, and Dave Gingell
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 £200,000.
The two day operation to fill the pool with 487,500 litres of water was completed on Friday 8 February whilst Link Centre staff cleaned up after contractors Swindon Commercial Services removed their equipment. As the water flowed back into the tank, Activity Assistant Richard Bishop was pleased it is back in action.
Having started work at Link Centre in November 1985, he is one of the longest serving members of staff. "I take school classes but the children have not been able to go swimming since last summer," he said. "It will be good to see them learning again."
For Dave Gingell, seeing the pool work completed is a bitter sweet experience. He has worked on the technical management side of the building since March 1986, but 26 years later on 31 March he will be taking voluntary redundancy.
The pool will be fully open to the public for lane swimming from 7.30am on Monday 11 February.
Link Centre have changed the normal holiday programme for this half term due to the fact that intensive lessons will not be taking place.
See the leisure services site for up to date information