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Swimmers to get improved pool by the New Year

Reading's Central Pool Credit: ITV News Meridian

The Central Pool in Reading will close for two weeks from today for essential maintenance work.

Improvements will be made to the diving platforms, male changing rooms, roof and heating systems. Last month, Reading Borough Council approved plans to eventually replace the pool with a more modern facility.

Central Pool remains a very popular leisure facility for many people in Reading and we appreciate its temporary closure is bound to cause some inconvenience.

However, these essential works cannot be carried out while the centre is open and they are necessary to ensure Central Pool can continue to be a valued facility for individual swimmers and swimming groups to use into the future."

– Cllr Paul Gittings, Reading's Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services


New swim safety initiative

One in five children experience near misses in open water.

In response the Amateur Swimming Association along with the RNLI are launching a safety initiative in Bournemouth for seven to fourteen year olds.

They want to show them the difference between swimming in the confines of a pool and an open water environment.

The video below is an RNLI training feature video.

Women raise £1,700 after completing mammoth swim

Four women are celebrating after they swam around the Isle of Wight, raising £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

They completed the swim in just over 24 hours, covering 56 miles in strong tides and choppy, cold waters.

From l-r: Pauline, Heather, Chris, Kate and Ann celebrate with a bottle of champagne! Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

Pauline McCracken, Heather Lunt, Ann Brimelow and Kate Steels-Fryatt started the swim at St Helens on Saturday and finished Sunday night, after each swimming six hours and a distance just short of an English Channel crossing.

In the run up to the swim, the team had a late change as their original fourth swimmer, Chris Pitman, fell ill and had to undergo heart surgery. They also had to loan a yacht from Port Solent after they lost their boat and support crew 24 hours before starting.

The ladies finished their swim at St Helens on Sunday evening Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

“It feels amazing, I can’t believe we’ve done it after 18 months of planning.

“The fifth hour in the water was the toughest thing I have ever done – I came out smiling but very emotional!”

– Pauline McCracken
The women raised £1,700 for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Credit: "Ladies Wot Swim"

Portsmouth MP makes a Splash! to raise money for lido

Penny Mordaunt MP is to compete in a swimming reality show to raise funds for charity Credit: Ian Nicholson / PA Archive / Press Association Images

The Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt has said she will be donating her fee for appearing on the ITV reality swimming show Splash! to a charity in her constituency.

The politician represents Portmouth North. She said "Not only is Splash! a great personal development experience but it also seemed like the perfect way to fund raise for a charity I’m very passionate about – the Hilsea Lido in Portsmouth which is being renovated by the community.

"I will be donating my fee for the programme to assist with the renovations. I have the elegance and drive of a paving slab, but my navy training has certainly given me the guts to take on the challenge head on.”

The MP will be appearing on the show alongside singer and musician Paul Young, model Danielle Lloyd, comedian Patrick Monahan and TOWIE star Dan Osbourne.

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MP Penny Mordaunt to take part in Splash!

MP Penny Mordaunt has confirmed on Twitter she is to take part in ITV's diving show Splash! with Olympian Tom Daley.


Charity swim cancelled due to gales

The traditional New Year Day Dip which was organised by a Hampshire lifeboat charity has been cancelled.

The Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service has cancelled the event for the first time in more than 30 years.

Last year's charity swim saw a big turnout Credit: GAFIRS

Severe gales are forecast for New Year’s Day as winds are likely to peak at around midday with sustained winds of 50-60 mph.

With some 300 swimmers representing 33 charities, the NYD Dip in 2013 was one of the most successful to date.

The safety of all the intended participants is the main priority. Given the weather forecast, it would be most unsuitable for the event to go ahead.

GAFIRS respectfully ask that all groups and individuals that were planning to take to the water DO NOT DO SO of their own accord.

Parents fight for justice

A woman who nearly drowned during a school swimming lesson 13 years ago has won a landmark ruling from Britain's highest court which paves the way for her to pursue compensation from a local education authority.

Annie Woodland was a pupil at Whitmore Junior School in Basildon, Essex, when she had to be pulled from the water and resuscitated in July 2000. She suffered severe brain damage and needs round-the-clock care. Serena Sandhu reports.

Boy born with half a heart thriving on land and in water

A little boy born with only half a heart is now flourishing and his parents say it is all down to swimming lessons. Charlie Cobb from Brighton was born with a condition that stops his heart from developing normally and doctors said he only had a 50% chance of surviving.

Despite enduring many heart problems, he is thriving both on land and in the pool. We spoke to Charlie's swim instructor Vicki Steven.

Swimmer on her last Five Island Challenge swim

Video. An endurance swimmer from Hampshire has begun her swim around the Isle of Wight. This is the last swim for Anna Wardley, in her 150 mile Five Island Swim challenge.

She has already swum around the island of Dragonera off the coast of Majorca, Portsea Island in Portsmouth and Jersey. She abandoned her swim around Tiree, in Scotland because of hypothermia.

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