Birmingham 50m pool takes shape at university
Excavation work has been completed for a 50m swimming pool in Birmingham.
The Olympic-sized pool, set to open in 2016, will be part of a £55m sports centre at the University of Birmingham.
The facilities, including pool, gym, sports hall, fitness suites and squash court will be open to the public as well as students.
The pool, based on the corner of Bristol Road, could become the only 50m pool in the Midlands, with one in Coventry scheduled to close.
In 2010, Commonwealth gold medallist swimmer Adam Ruckwood quit as Birmingham's chief swimming coach and switched to Coventry in frustration at the lack of a new Olympic-size pool in the city.
The University of Birmingham said the facilities would cater for absolute beginners as well as "world-class athletes".
Gary Humpage, head swim coach at the University, said: "For our elite swimmers, to be able to train in a 50m pool, the difference cannot be stressed enough - they will effectively be able to swim 10 per cent more because of not having to turn every 25m.
"And the pool will be wider. At the moment, the lanes are narrow, we struggle to do butterfly training because of that."
He said talk of a 50m pool in Birmingham dated back as far as 1984.
The new pool will have a moveable wall to allow it to be split into two 25m pools, as well as a moveable floor for children's swimming lessons.
The university estimated that the sports centre would cater for about 3,000 community and alumni members, as well as more casual users.