Disabled pool access redesigned as early legacy of London 2012 Games
12th November 2012
A unique system to improve pool access for disabled swimmers has become an early legacy of the London 2012 Games.
Poolpod is an innovative lift mechanism that fits to the side of swimming pools. The submersible and mobile platform enables independent access for disabled, less mobile or pregnant swimmers and removes the need for a hoist or swing.
The 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. Once in the Poolpod, the user activates the system using an electronic wristband, it then takes around 20 seconds to lower the user into the water. The Poolpod is suitable for any swimming facility and when not in use can be stored neatly at the side of the pool.
Following the launch of Poolpod at Mile End Park Leisure Centre, the training facility for London Regional Disability Swimming, seven Poolpods are now being installed in a trial scheme across England. One of the first recipients will be the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, which is undergoing transformation to provide activity programmes for all levels of swimming ability in all aquatic disciplines. Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the UK's national centre for disability sport will also benefit.
“London 2012 was fantastic for raising awareness of disabled sport”
Pictured is London 2012 Paralympic medallist Susie Rodgers,
“London 2012 was fantastic for raising awareness of disabled sport” said the triple bronze medallist, “The introduction of the Poolpod will add towards the legacy of the Games by improving access to the water for everyone in a sport I owe so much to.”
Poolpod is the result of an international design competition run and led by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The ODA was tasked with improving poolside accessibility as part of planning conditions for the construction of the Aquatics Centre. The company behind Poolpod, Core Pd Ltd, received £280, 000 from the London Marathon Trust to create and develop a prototype. The working model has already won a ‘New Product of the Year’ award at NAIDEX National 2012, the UK's largest disability, homecare and rehabilitation event.
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.”