Commonwealth opens its doors after £37m revamp

Eight-year-old Boyd Gunn is thrilled to be one of the first to try out the new pool
Eight-year-old Boyd Gunn is thrilled to be one of the first to try out the new pool
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Youngsters the length and breadth of the Lothians wanted to be among the first to try out the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

And now, 30 lucky winners will get to do just that after winning a contest by the Evening News and the city council.

Tomorrow, a day before the pool opens to the public, the group will be able to enjoy a swim as part of an exclusive ceremony following its two-and-half-year, £37 million refurbishment.

They will also meet Scottish swimming legend David Wilkie, who will present them with a medal to remind them of the historic occasion.

The event will also be attended by Lord Provost George Grubb.

The winners were picked after they explained why they should be among the first to try out the pool in 50 words.

Eight-year-old Boyd Gunn, a pupil at Gylemuir Primary, said: “I’m really pleased to have won the competition. Most of all I’m looking forward to diving off the diving board.”

Another winner is ten-year-old Max MacFarlane from Morningside, who has just been accepted at Warrender Swimming Club, of which David Wilkie was a member during its heyday in the late 60s and 70s.

“I’m really excited about meeting David Wilkie,” he said. I go swimming three times a week and I’ll go to the Commonwealth Pool now that it has opened.”

It is hoped that the pool, where the British swimming squad will hold its final training camp ahead of the London Olympics, will provide a base for aspiring young sports stars.

Operated by Edinburgh Leisure, the facility now has a new 50-metre, eight-lane pool for community and specialist swimming, along with a 25-metre diving pool with moveable floor and a dry-dive facility with trampoline and springboards to allow divers to practice out of the pool.

It also features new dry soft-play facilities, a refurbished and expanded gym and fitness studios, a redesigned changing area, and meeting and conference rooms.

The main 50m swimming pool has been widened by 1.5m and has a special boom so that it can be split into two 25m pools – allowing different activities to take place at the same time. The pool will host the diving events as part of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Deputy Lord Provost Rob Munn said: “It’s going to be enormously exciting for these children to swim the first breadth in the Royal Commonwealth Pool at its official reopening – an experience they will no doubt remember for the rest of their lives.

“Congratulations to them all on being successful in the competition and good luck with the swim!”

LUCKY DIP

The Winners

Declan Till, Lewis Aitken, Alix Jae Grieve Glendinning, Alice Baxter, Blair Shiell, Laura Penman, Rosie Mitchell, Eve Russell, Emilia Lauder, Alexander Thiboutot, Mariah Lindsay, Archie Sorensen, Boyd Gunn, Emily Farrell, Harmony Gosman, Craig Oliver, Sean Hughes, Luca Librizzi, Laura Halliday, Alexandra Murray, Finlay Shields, Maria Vines, Jemima Harrison, Sarah McLaren, Erin Gilbertson, Max MacFarlane, Cameron Rae, Hannah Rowcliffe, Anna Galloway, Milly Rowcliffe.