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Cost sinks an olympic dream

There are choppy waters ahead for swimmers in Oxford after it was revealed there is no cash to build an Olympic-size pool for the city. But this week city councillor Alan Armitage, executive member for healthier environment, said: "We have taken seriously the possibility there might be money available from external bodies, but at this stage we have drawn a blank. "We could build a basic 50m pool for about £10m with seating for 250, but it would not be a good investment and a proper facility for the Olympics would cost £18m."

Swimmer Alex Scotcher, 26, from Clanfield, who won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Olympics in Melbourne, said: "A 50m pool would be a great training aid. It's understandable the city council feels it cannot pay the entire cost but the facility would make it easier for them to achieve their goals."

Meanwhile, a question mark is hanging over the future of Temple Cowley Pool. Under-funding and maintenance backlogs have meant it running on one boiler instead of three and it will have to close for about a month for a £100,000 refit. Frans van de Schoot- brugge, chairman of the City of Oxford Swimming Club, said: "It's the only place we can organise meets and that's necessary for us to survive.
"If it's taken away it could mean the end of the club."

Oxford has only 25m municipal swimming pools, while the UK is woefully short of 50m Olympic-sized pools.

From; Cost sinks an olympic dream, By Giles Sheldrick, Oxford Mail, 5 10 06

More at; That sinking Feeling

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