Recreational swimmers, lifeguards and swimming clubs across the South West have been handed a lifeline by using Millfield School’s Olympic swimming pool during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recreational swimmers and clubs have all been able to access the school’s impressive 50m Olympic-sized pool at a concessional rate, with local lifeguarding groups including Wells Life Saving Club and the lifeguard team from Greenbank Pool also able to continue vital qualification training. The access has resulted in four newly-qualified lifeguards and two renewed qualifications with Wells Life Saving Club.
Clubs enjoying access to the facilities include Street and District, Wells, Plymouth Leander, Heron, Burnham, North Bristol, City of Bristol, Clevedon, Somerset Masters, Bridgwater, West Dorset and Leweston Tri Club.
Local pools are currently unavailable to the public as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving local swimmers unable to continue training.
It is all about promoting the physical health and mental wellbeing of the people within our community – Euan Dale, director of swimming, Millfield
Millfield’s director of swimming Euan Dale said: “Swimming is a sport that can benefit so many people in so many different ways. It has been incredible to see so many of the local community using the Millfield venue in a COVID-safe manner. At the end of the day and, at whatever level, it is all about promoting the physical health and mental wellbeing of the people within our community.”
Strict Covid-19 safety procedures
Millfield is able to facilitate the public access of the pool because of rigorous Covid-19 procedures, including a strict one-way system and thorough cleaning regime. Staff have monthly training to ensure they are kept up-to-date with current RLSS guidelines in dealing with Covid and being able to perform rescues safely under the current conditions.
Millfield’s swimming pool and facilities manager Sarah Godwin said: “We are lucky with the setup of our facility that we can accommodate our local clubs and also clubs from further away, and we’re pleased to be able to offer an affordable alternative for the public to be able to access on a regular basis.
“We have the space and the capability to be able to run these sessions in a Covid-secure and customer-friendly way. It has had a great response and everyone loves the simplicity of how it works.”
Some children had never seen a 50m pool, never mind get a chance to train in one. What a great experience! – Mark Podbury, coach, Burnham-on-Sea Swimming Club
Coach Mark Podbury from Burnham-on-Sea Swimming Club commented: “Thanks to Millfield, 18 Burnham swimmers had use of all eight lanes, which was fantastic for them, with a couple of new parents commenting that their children said it was ‘brilliant’. Some children had never seen a 50m pool, never mind get a chance to train in one. What a great experience!”
Millfield swimming pool training ground for Olympians
Millfield’s impressive 50m swimming pool hosted the Russian Olympic Swimming team during the London 2012 Olympics, the World Triathlon Network and the GB swimming team while the national centre in Bath was under refurbishment. It has been the training ground for 24 Olympians including Duncan Goodhew, Mark Foster and, most recently, James Guy.
Millfield swimming pool offers weekly public and family swimming sessions and lessons during weekdays, evenings and weekends during term-time and over half-term and holidays. Local clubs able to book the facility through Millfield Enterprises.
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