On Wednesday, Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal opened the Olympic Legacy 50-M Swimming Pool at the Mount Kelly school in Tavistock, Devon. Mount Kelly boasts a number of olympic successes. Among them, Olympian, Sharon Davies. It is the site where 6 Paralympians, 72 international swimmers and 17 Olympians have trained.
There has been a shortage of 50-m swimming training facilities in the southwest of England. Mount Kelly’s 50-m pool was built with the help of Sport England and 706k and money from the National Lottery fund. The pool opened last September and is in high demand.
Pupils attending the school use the pool for training. Others from near and far swimming clubs use the pool for long course training. The children’s swimming national programme, ASA Learn to Swim also utilise the facilities.
After arriving by helicopter to the opening ceremony, The Princess Royal observed a swimming display held by primary school children and the Mount Kelly swimming squad. To commemorate the event, before departing, she unveiled a plaque.
Many Mount Kelly pupils attended the ceremony including Olympians Sharon Davies MBE and Andy Jameson; Paralympians Claire Cashmore MBE and Mikey Jones MBE were also onhand. Former Olympian Sharon Davies had this to say about the event: “This is a fantastic boost for swimming across the whole of the UK. Mount Kelly has been at the heart of performance swimming for four decades and was the launch pad for my own International career. Its fitting to see an Olympic Legacy project of this magnitude located in an institution that will embrace every aspect of performance and community swimming.
“Its inspirational to see so many young athletes working hard to achieve their goals and it is fantastic that this facility will to be able to assist in producing the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic Champions.”
Five-times Olympic rowing champian, steve Redgraves was also very pleased that the pool was officially opened: “It is really exciting to see already how many people are benefitting from the 50m pool at Mount Kelly. This project represents a true Olympic legacy where every effort has been made to embrace all aspects of aquatic sport, from elite competitive swimming to community GP referrals. This project has caught the imagination of the community and represents all that is good with sport and activity. It will have a huge positive impact on current and future generations.”
The athletes weren’t the only ones pleased with the completion of the project. Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Director of Property said: “We are proud to be a partner delivering a sporting legacy for Mount Kelly and supporting their ambition to train the next generation of swimmers. This legacy pool will be of lasting benefit to the students who will be able to reach their full potential as athletes.”
Mount Kelly’s Head Master, Mark Semmence, said: “The successful completion of the pool project, within two years of the establishment of the Mount Kelly Foundation, is a significant achievement, and will bring enormous value not only to the School’s internationally renowned swimming programme, but also to our local community.”
And the mayor of West Devon, Cllr John Sheldon echoed his sentiments by saying” “I am really pleased that this excellent facility has now reached completion. This Olympic Legacy pool will put Tavistock on the professional swimming map and further enhance local facilities for all members of our community.”