Archive for the ‘Commonwealth Games’ Category


The Liverpool Echo reports: A plan to create a stunning outdoor city swimming pool could still go ahead – despite Liverpool missing out on the Commonwealth Games .

But the public facility may not be built in the city centre docks as was previously suggested.

As part of the city’s ambitious bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, plans were put forward to create a huge 5,000-seat swimming arena in one of the docks near the Albert Dock.

The idea was that the pool and surrounding deck would float in the dock while stands and a roof would be built above it.

Spectators would have stunning views over Mann Island and the Pier Head.

If the games bid had been successful, the venue would have hosted the swimming events – before the stands would be removed and the pool would open to the public as a city centre “lido.”

But speaking at today’s council cabinet meeting, Mayor Joe Anderson said the failed games bid does not mean that the pool plan will not go ahead.

“We have talked in the office about the lido and whether we still have that out there in the Docks or whether we have it at the Garden Festival site – we will look at doing something.”


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Malcolm Tozer Reviews: Hung Out to Dry: Swimming and British Culture, in the Spring Edition of Physical Education Matters.


It was by chance that your reviewer came across this privately published social history of swimming and the evident enthusiasm of its author – devotee of outdoor bathing and self-taught historian – prompted the request for a copy. Chris Ayriss’s idiosyncratic approach is as refreshing as the waters he loves and the ebb and flow of his story matches that of meandering stream; you never know what is round the next bend.

The Blue Lagoon Bristol 1937

The book spans ancient and modern, from the Roman occupation of Britain right up to the health-and-safety madness of present times. On the journey we meet bathing to satisfy superstitious, ritualistic, religious, medical, sensual, sexual, naturist, hygienic and escapist needs – amongst others – sometimes with the active approval of society, sometimes not. It would seem that skinny-dipping just for fun was never as simple as that.

Henleaze Lake Bristol 1932

Bathing’s real boom began in the mid-Victorian period when Thomas Cook introduced cheap rail excursions to seaside resorts; week-long factory closures saw whole towns decamp to Skeggie or Clacton; Billy Butlin’s promise of a week’s holiday for a week’s wage led to the popularity of holiday camps; major resorts competed for the biggest lidos and the highest diving boards; and inland cities provided their own riverside beaches and swimming lakes. Some marvellous photographs show packed crowds on Blackpool beach in 1949, with no room to swing a spade; sand-castle building in the shadow of London’s Tower Bridge in 1939; a sardine-jammed lido in Bristol in 1937; and fantastic multiple diving platforms at Henleaze and Weston-super-Mare.

London-on-Sea 1939

The demise from the 1960s was sudden: it came with the introduction of cheap flights to Mediterranean beaches; the delights of sun and sangria; the building of corporation indoor swimming complexes; riverside landowners denying right of access; health concerns about polluted rivers, canals and lakes; and safety worries over unsupervised bathing. Recent evidence from my outlook in Cornwall suggests that a partial recovery is underway – helped by the economic recession, the popularity of ‘staycations’, and the ready availability of wetsuits. Is the bucket-and-spade holiday back in fashion?

Wild Swimming

All this is told in a jaunty style. A bevy of blurred boys’ bare bottoms may see the book banned from school libraries, but there is much here to inform and entertain all who have ever delighted in a midnight skinny-dip – outdoors, of course.

Hung Out to Dry: Swimming and British Culture, by Chris Ayriss, Lulu.com, 2012, £14.50, ISBN 978-0-557-12428-2

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River and lake swimming is recognised as a basic human right around the world and until the recent past it was very much encouraged here in the U.K.

British culture cast a shadow over outdoor swimmers for a variety of reasons, including morality and public safety. As swimmers have become accustomed to wearing clothing when they take to the water moral concerns have diminished, yet despite improved water quality in urban areas we are lagging behind Europe and America in returning swimmers to open waters.

wild swimming Urban Beaches

Will Levenson, founder of Human Access Project

Portland Oregon is a city much the same size as Leicester, England. Until a couple of years ago, it would have seemed a ridiculous idea to suggest building three bathing beaches on the river: Regular sewage overflows had Portlanders viewing the Willamette River as a giant septic tank. But after the massive sewage upgrade engendered by the 2011 completion of the $1.4 billion Big Pipe project, Levenson wants you to know that it’s safe to go back in the water.

Since 2010, the Popina Swimwear co-owner has organized an annual Willamette River flotilla of kitschy inflatables called the Big Float; this year, he helped organize a world-record 620 people holding hands on inner tubes. And now he’s building three public-access beaches in the center of Portland. WW sat down with Levenson to ask how he wants to change the way Portland thinks about its river. more…

Sensible signs and sensible attitudes! Can we learn a lesson from the other side of the pond?

Leicester never had pollution concerns on the scale of those mentioned above but swimming is sadly still off the agenda in the U.K.s first and foremost environment city.

No Swimming in Leicester – Environment City

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Swim Wales will launch a new open water event that could lead to Commonwealth Games qualification.

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A young girl taking a break in a swimming pool...

Image via Wikipedia

Time will tell! British Swimming have teamed up with the BBC in a four-year-deal that will see much more coverage of the sport during the run up to both the Olympic Games 2012, and the Commonwealth Games in 2014. It is hoped that we will see a marked increase in the demand for swimming lessons as well as increase in public participation in the sport. Sadly a disappointing lack of diving facilities means that inspiration is unlikely to be played out in the pools of Britain. Even so a new campaign: The Big Splash will be launched in partnership with the BBC so as to encourage swimming lessons and get people swimming. Take a look at some of the campaigns from the past by following these links:

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