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

Gold medal winner, Ellie Robinson
Gold medal winner, Ellie Robinson

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.

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.

“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."