It’s been thirty years since people last swam there, but Alistair Brownlee has his hopes up that the local outdoor swimming pool of Otley finally re-opens. As a young boy, the Olympic gold medalist used to swim there. “I remember playing around in the small part of the pool. I must have been very young, as I was born in 1988, and it was closed in 1993,” Brownlee told BBC. Brownlee supports a campaign that aimed to collect an initial target of 53,000 pound before Monday. That’s the very minimum of what was needed to move the project to the next face, and fortunately for swimming enthusiasts in Otley and surroundings, that target was met.
“It will be a really wonderful thing if [the lido] could be rejuvenated,” Brownlee, who hopes the pool could eventually be rebuilt and renovated into a heated outdoor pool with a retractable roof, stated. The first funds are supposed to bring the project to the attention of local authorities and makes up for just a small portion of the total investment that would be needed for the project. In 2016 the project was estimated to cost around 5 million pound.
“Our aim is that the lido will be a hub which connects our community. A destination where families can relax and enjoy themselves. An accessible venue where everyone can take part in activities, have a drink or meal and connect with others. A place where children and adults can learn life lessons through sport and establish a healthy relationship with exercise for the rest of their lives. And who knows, maybe a place where future Olympians begin their journeys,” the campaigners stated in a press release.
As the lido hasn’t been used in decades, nature took over, which makes the pool hardly visible anymore. Given the fact that the city of Otley had a waiting list of up to three years for swimming classes, a new pool is much needed.
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