Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Leicestershire Amateur Swimming Association

  Leicestershire had only one swimming facility at St. Margarets, Leicester which had the capacity to hold competitive events at which a large number of spectators could be accommodated. This was closed in January 2000 at one weeks notice.

  Within the County there are only four pools with six swimming lanes, at Enderby, Hinckley, Loughborough and Market Harborough. The maximum spectator accommodation at any of these pools is approximately 100 and most of this has to be provided on chairs which have to be brought onto the poolside. At these facilities it is not possible to hold galas for competitive swimmers with the support of many of their parents who form the main body of spectators, the competitors being mostly in the ages nine to 18 years. The County Association and many of the clubs are having to hold their galas outside the County in pools at Grantham, Corby, Nuneaton and Rugby when these facilities have the time in their already busy programmes to allow this to be possible.

  There is a pool at Melton which has some spectator capacity but only five swimming lanes which the County Association has been forced to use for the County Championship and Age Group galas in the last two years. Arrangements are in hand for this to happen again in 2002. This arrangement is "making the best of a bad situation" which is very far from satisfactory.

  The loss of the pool at St. Margarets has put increased pressure on other training facilities and any additional time at other pools given over to training has meant a loss of public use at these pools. The pressure on almost all public facilities for water time is considerable and any loss of public time causes some, and occasionally, a lot of resentment. We need public support, and although our swimmers are also the public some other pool users to not see it this way.

  A new 50 metre pool is under construction at Loughborough University and is expected to be completed in July 2002. The main use of this facility will be for an Elite ASA squad and for the university. Although we hope to be able to have occasional use we do not feel that this will provide for the training and competition that is so badly needed in the County.

  The City of Leicester Council are trying to build a replacement for St Margarets and have submitted a lottery application to Sport England which has been rejected. A re-submission has now been made which we hope will be successful because this new pool is urgently required if swimming in this County is to progress. We cannot expect young swimmers to put in many hours training if we are unable to provide the competition that is vital to their progress.

  Swimming is expected to be a high profile sport in all the major international events, no more so than the Commonwealth Games next year in Manchester. We do all we can to support and encourage the young swimmer but as volunteers we also need some support. At the present in this County the continued lack of a high quality competition facility, or even the prospect of one in the near future, is beginning to have a negative effect on our affiliated clubs.

  We thank you for the opportunity to have expressed our problems and concerns.

26 November 2001

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