Pop-up pool to teach over 1,000 people to swim

Pic: Chris Cooper-Total Swimming

A temporary swimming pool has been launched in a north Croydon school which aims to teach more than 1,000 people to swim and improve their skills in the water this autumn.

Melanie Marshall, record breaking swimmer, double Olympian and six time Commonwealth Medallist, officially launched the pool at Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School yesterday.

She said: “I’m really excited to be in Croydon at this fantastic temporary pool. It’s a really impressive facility which will make a big difference to the community.

“Swimming is an extremely important life skill to learn and it’s also great fun. I’d like to encourage everyone to come down to Virgo Fidelis to enjoy the pool while it’s here.”

The pool was built as part of the Make a Splash programme.

Chris Cooper, manager of the programme said: “The day went really well. Melanie delivered a fantastic, inspiring assembly to the school about the Olympic values and how if you work hard and give your best, you will never be a failure in what you do.

“She also delivered a fun swimming lesson to a group of Year 8 girls in the pool.”

Mary Mangan, who was responsible for bringing the project to Virgo Fidelis, told eastlondonlines: ” The cost of learning to swim at the school sessions are heavily subsidised, at £2 per session, and therefore the community are much more likely to attend the temporary pool sessions in their pursuit of learning/improving their swimming.

“I am extremely excited by the project as this is the perfect time to build on the momentum of the Olympics this summer, helping Londoners of all ages and abilities to get involved in swimming and “inspire a generation”.

During weekdays the pool will be used for school swimming lessons but is open for the whole community after school hours and on Saturday mornings.

Week-long crash courses will also be available during half-term holidays from October 29. It costs just £2 per session so it is anticipated that more than 1,000 people will use the service while it is in Croydon.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This fantastic mobile swimming pool is part of my ongoing aim to deliver a long-lasting sporting legacy from the Games and so it’s great news that it has now arrived at Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School in Croydon.”

The 12x6m heated pool was built and is managed by Total Swimming, and will remain at the Upper Norward school until December 13.

Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “Croydon scored a double success this year by coming top in both the London Youth Games and the London Disability Youth Games. We are keen to see that record of achievement continue, and it is by investing in projects like this one that we are investing in the sporting future of the borough as a whole.”

British Gas, the ASA and Thames Water are sponsoring the project.

British Gas brand director, Susie Plume, said: “British Gas is passionate about getting the nation swimming, so we’re very excited to be involved with Make a Splash and bringing swimming to the community of Croydon.

“During the first three years of our partnership with British Swimming, the national governing body for water sports, we’ve seen the benefits and enjoyment that swimming can bring to communities. I hope that everyone will have a fantastic time in the pool at Virgo Fidelis School while it’s there.”

For more details and information about the project, click here.

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