Paralympic champ Ellie Robinson and her coach call for 50-metre pool in Northampton - as her club's hire bill hits £200,000 a year

The director of swimming at Northampton Swimming Club has said the club spends £200,000 a year hiring venues around the county for elite swimmers like Ellie Robinson due to not having their own Northampton pool.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 6:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 6:53 pm
Gold medal winner, Ellie Robinson

Jacquie Marshall - coach to Rio gold medalist Ellie Robinson - told the Chronicle & Echo that not having a club pool is "limiting their success."

She said: “We are really good but we could be much better. We need a pool where we can be a club.

“If you think of it like this, we have athletes in our club who race for Great Britain and England.

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“The rugby, cricket and football teams all have an arena but we don't.

“We are at a level in terms of athlete performance. We are one of the top 24 clubs in Great Britain and we haven’t got a pool. Tonight we will be training at Moulton, Duston and Towcester - the staff are constantly spread out.”

It is estimated that 1,000 people in the county are involved in some sort of organised swimming - with many more potentially visiting a new pool as casual users.

The swimming coach had high hopes for a new leisure facility on Grange Park when the idea of IKEA was proposed back in the early 2000s.

She believes that the club - as well as the town - could really benefit from pools for teaching and competing, under one roof.

Her ideal arena would host a 10-lane, 50-metre pool and a five-lane, 25-metre pool with a moveable floor that could be easily altered.

Paralympian Ellie Robinson, aged 15, also backed the idea of a 50-metre pool.

The Northampton High School student told the Chronicle & Echo that it would be a "really nice facility to have."

The schoolgirl said: "Long-course training is really important in the build-up for major competition. Corby is 40 minutes from my house, and I do that at five in the morning. The alarm goes off at 4am.

“It would be really great to have a 50-metre pool. We have so many great swimmers at Northampton Swimming Club, not just Paralympic swimmers but able-bodied as well.

“Fifty-metre training is so important for major competitions and we are going into the long-course season. At the moment only get one long-course session a week and that's only two hours. It would really benefit a lot of swimmers."

Miss Robinson, won gold in the S6 50m butterfly, and also picked up a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle at the Rio Paralympics last year.

"Some of the swimmers who live in South Northants - the times they get up to train, it's crazy really," she added. "The dedication you have to have - hats off to them."

"The dedication that swimmers put in means they will do 22 hours a week. It's just so important in the build up to competitions. It would be quite a nice reward to have our own 50-metre pool."