City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

"The Commie" Re-Opens to Public

By edg - Posted on 20 March 2012

Main pool at Commonwealth Pool after revamp

The Royal Commonwealth Pool (RCP) re-opens to the general public tomorrow morning (10am) following a massive, £37.2m upgrade.

The refurbished, Grade A-listed sports building re-opens following two and a half years and around 6.5 million man hours, well in time to play its role as the venue for the diving events at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the final training camp for Britain's Olympic Swimming squad.

Olympic swimming champion David Wilkie swam the first breadth of the 50-metre, eight-lane pool with 30 children, and Commonwealth Games athlete Grace Reid featured in a synchronised diving display at the opening ceremony earlier today.

Also celebrating the opening were two generations of divers - James Heatly and his grandfather Sir Peter Heatly, who took part in the original opening ceremony of the RCP in 1970.

Performing the opening honours, Wilkie said: "It is a great privilege to be back at the RCP, considering that this is where I did a lot of my training when I was a schoolboy in Edinburgh. This is also the pool where I won my first international cap for Great Britain and won my first major international medal at the 1970 Commonwealth Games."

He added: "I have some fond memories of the place. It’s great to see the ‘old lady’ reformed in all her old glory and to play a part in her reopening."

As well as the main pool, the sports venue boasts a re-orientated 25m diving pool up to 5m deep with moveable floor which can be used for swimming when not in use for diving. For spectators, there are 821 seats on the seating deck.

There is also a dry dive facility with trampoline and springboards to allow divers to practise out of the pool, and a 25m pool with moveable floor for warm-ups, swimming lessons and play.

Added attractions to be found across its 25,000m² floor area are the new dry soft play facilities, new gym and fitness studios, a changing "village", as well as meeting and conference rooms.

“With five Scots swimmers already qualifying for the London Olympics and the 2014 Games less than 900 days away, there has never been a more exciting time for sport in Scotland," said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“This world class facility will encourage participation in sport and physical activity locally and support elite athletes."

The opening of the Commie, with its historic role as a training ground for the city's competitive swimmers, is a major asset for the city and campaigners who have been fighting to save Leith Waterworld, which the Council closed in January, are taking a keen interest in the facilities for families.

Edinburgh Leisure Chief Executive John Comiskey promised a "programme of activities for all ages" from an "an exceptional team of staff".

"We are looking forwarding to delivering the highest possible customer experience in a safe and enjoyable environment to help all of our customers get active, stay active and achieve more,” he added.

The Royal Commonwealth Pool reopens to the public at 10am on Wednesday 21 March 2012.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday: 5.30am to 10pm; Saturdays: 5.30am to 8pm; Sundays 7.30am to 8pm.