Reading Central Pool above 1966 Once “State of the Art”
READING CENTRAL POOL. Roots of many aquatic champions
Reading Central Pool is a personal sporting home ground since the pool was built in 1966. There was a hiccup in year 2000 with threats to bulldoze, but Reading Central Pool and coaches were given 15 more years to continue nurturing champions. There were odd closures for constant maintenance which was a worry – especially for diving as this sport requires just a little more than water!
It is announced however that Reading Central Pool is to be maintained and remain open for another two years whilst new sites are found. Then……..?
“Goodbye Our Friend – Central Pool has now closed. 2nd september 1966 – 31st January 2018” (short video)
My personal Tribute
In 1966 Reading Central Pool was the reason for self and family to choose Reading as the place to live! A “State of the Art Swimming Pool” with a SEPARATE DIVING POOL! Governed by a very respected and supportive Manager- Mr John Anstey – who ruled his staff with a rod of steel.
Reading Central Pool Opening Ceremony
The Righworshipful the Mayor, Alderman Francis Taylor J.P. was welcomed by Cllr C. F. Sage, Chairman of the Public Entertainment and Parks Committee to perform the Opening of the Pool.
Reading Town Councillors and guests were entertained by Seymour Synchro Swimmers; Reading Champions; and for the last time the Reading Borough Police Breastroke Championships were swum.
Anne Cotterill – former English Record Holder of the 100 yards butterfly stroke; Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist and Tokyo Olympic Swimmer demonstrated her many various skills
Members of Reading Swimming Club demonstrated breaststroke, butterfly, and crawl strokes and Reading Borough Police their Life Saving skills.
There were exciting Team Races followed by the Seymour Synchro Swimmers rounding off a very entertaining opening event.
Continuously filled gallery’s saw Reading Central Pool – pristine and beautiful – witness Swimming Champions; Synchronised Swimming Champions; Water Polo Champions and Diving Champions emerge from these waters. Boasting competency from Club level to the highest levels of International ; World and Olympic standard.
The Town had a recreational facility to be proud of, and hundreds and thousands of children and adults have/are learning to swim here. Other Sports were introduced such as Underwater Hockey “Octopush” and Scuba Diving Practice. Life Saving to instill water safety and the famous “Reading Cygnets Swimming Club” who’s members produce astounding results
Reading Central Pool in 1967 was one of the Towns finest and rewarding features. Growing to hosting International Synchronised Swimming Festivals, National and International Meets , and English Schools National Diving Championships, Inter-Clubs and many more galore.
However, as the years rolled by, policy’s changed and whole systems of governing a swimming pool changed. For example, gone was the person with the prestigious title of Baths Manager. Duty Officers were the name of the game and… they changed frequently.
Once a leader in pool facilities, many pools started to spring up around the country. They caught up and overtook Reading Central Pool in design. They provided the modern much needed amenities for hosting grand and major events. 50 metre pools, 6 to 8 lane pools with the finest up to date high board and diving facilities; training pools; meeting rooms; social facilities – e.g restaurant or cafe’s to sit for quiet reflection; gymnasiums and outstandingly DRY DIVING GYMS. Divers don’t even have to get wet if they don’t want to!
Reading Central Pool has done well and fights on to still provide a training ground for the production of aquatic champions. Also to allow high tech and other equipment to be installed, usually provided/helped from various sponsorships within the Clubs – but the real facts have been apparent all along.
Reading Central Pool – once a fashion statement in design, influenced by “the Sages” of Reading – Councillor C.F Sage and Cllr K Sage – past Mayors of Reading – has slowly over recent years disappeared into the background. Reading Central Pool is not an altogether suitable modern facility for todays standards and requirements. Many training sessions have to be held away from Reading. Once upon a time a sparkling new enterprise but now declined disguising its former glory of its day.
Reading Central Pool personally will hold special memoirs (as with many others in their respective sports) of the thousands of hours spent there under the auspices of Reading Swimming Club and then a specialist diving club “Albatross” . Resulting from the passion of introducing and coaching diving.
“Dedicated” to those that first came along to THAT special SEPARATE diving pool! and start somersaulting and twisting their lives away!
I’m proud to say that Albatross diving has continued and is continuing from strength to strength under my son’s very successful lead. The sport celebrates nearly 50 years of high competitive diving in Reading since the pool was just three holes in the ground!
Umpteen more years in Swimming – right back dating to the late 19th century – there have been Reading swimming clubs in various rivers and establishments! (some of which are mentioned on this site).
Reading Swimming Clubs have a fine record and history. Synchronised Swimming started off as “Water Ballet” countless years ago and became today’s famous “Reading Royals Synchronised SC” with their spellbinding results, and Reading Water Polo has forever been on the scene! attached to Reading Swimming Club.
Thank you Reading Central Pool for providing the massive boost within these sports to the present day. Two more years left and then we’ll see……..a hard act to follow in terms of setting the original prestigious example of aqua sport provision within the town, nearly 50 years ago.
OUTCOME: Awaiting the bulldozer. The promise that another adequate pool will be in place before Central Pool closed has not materialised. Now GONE…LOST November 2018