Wales National Pool pulled as Paralympic base for swimmers

British Swimming will relocate athletes from Swansea to Manchester

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The Wales National Pool will no longer be the base for elite Paralympic swimmers, the sport's governing body has announced.

British Swimming will relocate athletes to Manchester in a move to centralise training after what was seen as a poor performance at London 2012.

The Swansea pool board has asked the Welsh and UK governments, along with UK Sport, to get the decision reversed.

Its chair Anne Ellis has called it a "significant blow".

The Swansea pool has produced medal winning swimmers such as Ellie Simmonds and Dave Roberts.

The Manchester pool will be known as the National Performance Centre and the body's new head coach, Rob Greenwood, took up his role on Monday.

'Best support'

British Swimming said the move north will give athletes greater levels of support.

National performance director Chris Furber said: "A review took place to ensure that we were providing athletes with the best support and services within their daily training environments.

Start Quote

The decision... is a significant blow to disability sport provision in Wales”

End Quote Anne Ellis Wales National Pool board chair

"The decision was made, as we move forwards towards Rio [2016 Games], we would have one national performance centre where we will have the very best support and services that athletes require.

"We will continue to work with Swim Wales regarding the support that athletes receive in Wales and how we can also support their talent programmes."

The South Wales Evening Post newspaper quoted a letter from the Wales National Pool's chairwoman Anne Ellis to politicians. It read: "The decision to stop using the excellent pool facilities in Swansea as a base for elite Paralympics swimming is a significant blow to disability sport provision in Wales."

She added this was "particularly disappointing not only because of the exceptional track record developed by Swansea, but also it now means that all elite Paralympic swimmers from Wales will have to travel to Manchester if they want to be in the GB National Squad.

"This also means the pool loses out on income from elite training and the coaching excellence developed in the field of Paralympics swimming is under threat."

Ellie Simmonds Ellie Simmonds is one of the champions to have trained in Swansea

British Swimming's budget was cut after the London Olympics.

A spokesperson for Sport Wales said: "Our central focus continues to be that talented Welsh swimmers are able to reach their potential and have access to high level coaching and support. We will be discussing how Swim Wales and British Swimming can achieve this with the help of our investment and resources."

Swim Wales said it was "extremely disappointed" with the decision.

"Of course we understand that difficult decisions have to be made on how to use limited funding, but the results achieved from Swansea consistently over a number of years speak for themselves, including performances at London 2012 and the recent IPC World Championships.

"There is still a key role for Swansea and Swim Wales to play in the disability swimming performance pathway. Discussions are ongoing on how the centre at Swansea fits into these plans leading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games."

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