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A nation swimming

Ellie Simmonds visits Sandwell Aquatics Centre after pools filled

Five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds explained that the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will be a ‘wonderful facility’ for local residents following her visit.

Simmonds, who is also a Birmingham 2022 board member, attended the site alongside the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, and Councillor Kerrie Carmichael.

The trio were able to see the newly-filled competition swimming pool and dive pool which, combined, hold 1.2 million gallons of water.

Simmonds described it as an ‘incredible venue’, saying: “It’s amazing to visit the Sandwell Aquatics Centre and to see the fantastic progress that has been made.

“Not only will this be an incredible venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games but it will also be a wonderful facility for local people to use for years to come.”

The facilities will open to the public next year and the hopes are that it will be a lasting legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The site will feature the West Midlands’ first 10m diving platform, as well as a 50m pool, brand new exercise facilities, a football pitch and a women-only gym.

Incredible to see the pools filled

The Culture Secretary revealed that her ambition is to ensure that every child in the UK has access to ‘excellent sports facilities’ with the Sandwell Aquatics Centre helping towards that aim.

She continued: “Not only will it showcase the talents of some of the greatest swimmers and divers on the planet but its legacy will be its use by people in the West Midlands for generations after the Games.

“Sandwell is a clear example of why the UK bids for major events and why we are so good at hosting them. Events like Birmingham 2022 can be a catalyst for levelling up access to sport and culture.”

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, leader of Sandwell Council, also said: “As always it is fantastic to be visiting the Sandwell Aquatics Centre to see how much further we have come to completing the venue.

“It’s incredible to see the swimming pools filled and you can now visualise how the venue look during the 10 days when we will be hosting the swimming and diving events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Sandwell residents can now really get a sense of what the venue has to offer when it will be open to the public as a leisure centre for all to use.

“I look forward to seeing the final touches being added to the venue in the coming months in readiness for the Games this summer.”