Extra afternoon pool sessions opened

Foyle Arena in the Waterside.
Foyle Arena in the Waterside.

The swimming pool in the Foyle Arena will open for extra public sessions on late afternoons on weekdays after complaints from the public over reservations for lessons for schools.

The move follows a complaint from one swimmer who thought it “disgraceful” the pool was reserved for swimming lessons and by various local sports clubs for 24 per cent of the week.

Derry City and Strabane District Council, which runs the arena, said it planned to close the pool to the public on weekdays from 3.30pm to 6pm but had revised this and that the pool will now be open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4.30pm to 6pm and on Fridays from 5.15pm onwards.

A spokesperson explained that following a recent review the structure of lessons was amended to create more efficient pool use and bring the programme more in line with the swimming syllabus.

“This included removing lengthy and unnecessary handovers before and after each lesson along with five minutes playtime,” the spokesperson said.

“Working on the new syllabus, the recommendation for lessons at levels 1-5 is 30 minutes duration, while levels 6-8 is 45 minutes and this is endorsed by all governing bodies. All classes are now based on these recommendations and staff trained on how to be more efficient in the changeover of classes. To accommodate the revised schedule, the Learner Pool and the Main Pool has been allocated exclusively to our Children’s Learn to Swimming Programme at designated times throughout the week.”

The council said it was able to free up extra time for public swimming and will further review the programme at the completion of the current 12 week block.