In the swim for Cleveland Pools

Bath’s historic Cleveland Pools have held their first swimming event – at Bath Leisure Centre!

That’s where around 650 of Bath’s young swimming fraternity from 8 different swim schools and clubs turned out  for a Sponsored Swim which raised nearly £7,000 for the two hundred year old open air former Georgian lido beside the River Avon at Bathwick.

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Parents urging their youngsters on at the swimathon.

The restoration process for the Cleveland Pools will begin later this year to bring back open-air swimming to the people of Bath, and this is the first big swimming-related event held off-site.  Its success is due to the growing interest in this remarkable heritage site on the riverside in Bathwick which was closed for swimming 1984 due to lack of funding.   

The parents of the swimmers have really helped spread awareness by asking friends and families to sponsor their youngsters.  Both LocalGiving and social media have played a huge part in helping them reach their goals.  

The Bath Dolphin Swimming Club session was chosen for the Swimathon’s publicity night due to their longstanding association with the Cleveland Pools;  the Dolphins were founded on the riverside next to the Cleveland Pools in 1899. 

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The Bath Dolphin Swimming Club at the Cleveland Pools in 1910. © Bath in Time.

The Bath Dolphins are now based at the Bath Sports & Leisure Centre and this is where the club members carried out their sponsored swims.  Ironically, it was the building of the Bath Sports & Leisure Centre in 1975 – with its brand new heated swimming pool – which essentially caused the Cleveland Pools to meet its gradual demise.  But things are about to change !

Cleveland Pools trustee Suzy Granger, who owns the Bath School of Swimming, co-ordinated the whole Sponsored Swim programme with coaches and teachers from the participating swim schools. 

 All the swimmers taking part in the sponsored swim were given a Well Done certificate to thank them for their efforts. 

Special guest Stephanie Millward MBE, the Paralympian swimmer who becomes the latest patron for the Cleveland Pools alongside their existing ambassador Sharron Davies MBE, presented some of the certificates to the children.  

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Stephanie Millward MBE talking to some of the young swimmers.

The Cleveland Pools in Bathwick are the most intriguing open-air public swimming venue in the UK, and also the oldest.  Closed for swimming in 1984, a Trust was formed in 2005 by local campaigners to save the 200 year-old heritage site – with its crescent-shaped cottage and changing cubicles – and have it restored for the people of Bath and beyond to enjoy as a swimming venue and historic place of interest for the future.    

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In order to meet the terms of their Heritage Lottery Fund Stage II grant of £3.7million, which will finally fund the cost of restoration, the Cleveland Pools Trust needed to raise £530,000 in match-funding.  With support from Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES), Historic England, and generous local donors they have already raised over two thirds!  

The remaining £168,000 is needed by the end of April so they are urging the public to get behind the project and donate any amount they can via their website:   www.clevelandpools.org.uk