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New pool ‘a long time coming’ — says coach

National swim coach Ben Smith said yesterday he was happy to see the swimming pool at the National Aquatics Centre (NAC) up and ready for use for a busy summer.

With the National Championships set to take place next weekend at the venue, followed by the NatWest Island Games in July, the pool “is coming into service at the right time.”

Smith, who had lobbied for a 50-metre pool for many years now, said he was pleased to see the job completed and ready for international use that will attract top swimmers from around the world to compete on local shores.

“It’s been a long time coming. Everyone has been waiting for us to have a 50-metre pool and it will give our swimmers a chance to practise long distance,“ said Smith.

“It will bring in more swimmers to the sport.

“Our swimmers will be competing in the pool for the first time and after that we can sit down and see what the plan is for us using the pool.”

While the facility will host the majority of the top swimming events throughout the summer, Smith stated that the Saltus pool would remain the BASA headquarters for their programmes.

“Our home base will still be at the BASA pool at Saltus, so all our programmes will come out of that pool. We don’t have any real input into what goes on at the new pool.”

The facility is part of the new $23.4 million National Aquatics Centre located in the heart of Bermuda National Sports Centre on Frog Lane in Devonshire.

The pool, maintained at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, is fitted with a movable bulkhead to allow either eight lanes of 50 metres or 16 lanes of 25 metres.

The bulkhead will be adjusted to accommodate 50 metres at specific times throughout the week. These additional lanes triple the Island’s existing public swimming capacity.

It will be the primary multi-sport host venue for the NatWest Island Games taking place from July 13 to 19, with the centre as the host venue for all aquatic activities.

The NAC will be open to the public from 7am until 7pm Monday to Saturday and 7am until 5pm on Sundays during the summer months. Winter opening hours will be subject to demand.

Entry fees are $15 for adults; $12 for youth (age 13 to 18) and seniors (age 65 and over); and $8 for children (age 6 to 13). A family ticket is available for $32 for two adults and up to four children, all of whom reside at the same address.

Money-saving multipack swim packages of 10 tickets are also available, as well as monthly passes.

National swim coach Ben Smith pictured with two of top competitors, Jesse Washington (left) and Shannon Hassell.

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Published May 30, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 29, 2013 at 11:16 pm)

New pool ‘a long time coming’ — says coach

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