DOUBLE Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington was back at Stratford Leisure Centre today (Saturday) to celebrate its reopening following a £5million refurbishment.
She was joined on her visit by Team GB water polo player, Rosie Morris, triple Commonwealth gold medallist swimmer, James Goddard and synchronised swimmer, Zoe Cooper.
Around 120 children tried their hand at water polo, fast swimming, life saving and synchronised swimming as part of event, which was hosted by Total Swimming founder and Olympian, Steve Parry.
Kids also had the chance to race the athletes across the revamped 33m pool and took part in a question and answer session before getting to grips with the centre’s new climbing walls.
As part of the multi-million pound refurbishment, some of the district council-owned building has been upgraded for the first time in more than three decades.
Two new swimming pools have been created, a changing facility and a new sauna and steam room installed, the sports hall and other facilities revamped while eight climbing walls have been built at the Bridgefoot centre’s entrance.
And to celebrate the end of the project, Everyone Active, which manages the centre on behalf of Stratford District Council, invited members of the public to try out the new facilities alongside the Olympic athletes on Saturday (October 3).
It is the second time Rebecca has visited the centre after she opened the temporary pool provided as part of the British Gas ‘Pools for Schools Programme’ earlier this year.
Speaking exclusively to the Observer, the retired swimmer said: “It’s wonderful to be back in Stratford and be able to celebrate everything that has gone on at the centre since I was last here.
“The transformation is incredible – it feels like I’m walking into a brand new centre not a refurbished one and that’s a really huge thing in a time when a lot of centres are cutting back on their budgets.
“Everyone involved in the project has done a great job and it’s been a wonderful day meeting the kids and giving them the chance to have a go at everything.
”The people of Stratford are incredibly lucky to have such a top class facility on their doorstep.”
Gareth Wagg, Everyone Active’s general manager, added: “It is a very special occasion for us and Stratford District Council and we’re delighted Rebecca was able to join in the celebrations along with the other inspirational athletes.
“The turnout has far exceeded our expectations but we’re glad so many people were able to try out the new facilities and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors over the coming months.”
Visit www.everyoneactive.com for further information.