BASINGSTOKE has been chosen as one of just seven areas across the country to trial a new piece of equipment to help disabled and pregnant people access a swimming pool.
The system to improve swimming pool access for those less mobile is an early legacy of the London 2012 Games, with the Olympic Aquatics Centre becoming one of the first recipients.
Basingstoke Aquadrome is also set to receive the Poolpod, which will be installed in the new year.
The equipment is a submersible and mobile pool platform which enables independent access – removing the need for a hoist or swing.
Susie Rodgers, London 2012 paralympic swimmer and triple bronze medallist, has endorsed Poolpod, which launched in Tower Hamlets last week, where it was trialled.
She said: “London 2012 was fantastic for raising awareness of disabled sport, and the introduction of the Poolpod will add towards the legacy of the Games by improving access to the water for everyone.”
Poolpod was the result of a design competition run by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and supported by the London Legacy Development Corporation.
A platform lift enables less mobile people to remain standing as they enter the water, while a submersible wheelchair allows users to transfer from their own wheelchair in the privacy of the changing room.
The user activates the system using an electronic wristband, and it then takes 20 seconds to lower into the water.
The ODA committed to finding a new way of improving poolside access as part of planning conditions granted for the construction of the Aquatics Centre.
British Swimming has now bought seven Poolpods which will be installed in a trial scheme across England, with Basingstoke being one of the chosen locations, along with Stoke Mandeville Stadium – the home of the Paralympic Games.
Kate McKnight, head of facilities development at British Swimming, said: “The introduction of a new portable system for getting people into the water will be a great asset for increasing participation in swimming, particularly among those who feel swings and hoists are obtrusive. That this has only been made possible through the London 2012 Games is a wonderful example of creating a meaningful legacy.”