Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry swimming pool closure 'threatens water polo'

Coventry pool
Image caption Coventry's 50m pool is the only one of its size in the West Midlands

The closure of the only 50m swimming pool in the West Midlands, could threaten the future of a successful Coventry sport, a coach has said.

Ian Elliott is head coach for the City of Coventry Water Polo teams, which compete at the highest national and European levels.

He said the teams were "under threat" from the proposed pool changes.

Coventry City Council said it was considering the inclusion of a 50m pool in its new site proposal.

'An Olympic coach'

Ed Ruane, cabinet member for sport at the council, said the current facility costs £2,000 a day to run.

The council believes the existing Fairfax Street sport centre is no longer fit for purpose. Instead it is proposing a new 25m water park.

Mr Elliott said the city's teams had been "supported strongly by Coventry City Council" but did not want to lose the current pool, which "is ideal for water polo".

The pool is home to water polo teams for youths and seniors of both sexes.

They currently have two girls in the academy GB squad and six youths in British water polo regional training.

Charlotte Noble, goalkeeper for the ladies team, said: "Hopefully people can realise how important the pool is to us."

Water polo is just one of the activities that could be affected by the pool closure.

Earl Radtschenko, 17, from Coventry, is a swimmer who hopes to represent Britain in the Rio Olympics.

He said: "I believe the desire to succeed comes from within, but having a 50m pool and an Olympic coach in Coventry has certainly helped."

Adam Ruckwood, the City of Coventry Swimming Club's head coach and a former Olympian, said some swimmers would have to leave the club if the facility closed, "which would be an absolute tragedy".

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