Superstar swimmers make a splash as Minsthorpe Leisure is officially opened
Max Litchfield, a 2016 Olympian and world championship swimmer, will be one of the star guests when Minsthorpe Leisure is officially opened on 15 March, by the Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Peter Box CBE.
Max will be joined by five of the district's medal winning swimmers from the 2017 Special Olympics as they make the inaugural swim in the brand new pool, which is part of the £5million leisure facility.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council
Cllr Peter Box said: "I am delighted that we have a home-grown Olympian returning to Minsthorpe to celebrate the new leisure centre as well as the amazing swimmers from the Special Olympics.
"These guys are a real inspiration and will hopefully encourage a new generation of local swimmers and athletes who will now have a high quality, modern leisure facility to help develop their skills.
"Despite the relentless Government cuts to our budget we have been absolutely determined to deliver the best possible leisure facilities for local residents. Over the last year the site has been transformed and we have now brought a new era of leisure opportunity to Minsthorpe."
Minsthorpe Leisure houses a 25 metre, six-lane, swimming pool, studio space and a 60 station air-conditioned gym. The swimming area offers activities for people of all ages and abilities, including those who want to learn to swim, as well as those who want to use water space to keep fit and active.
The versatile studio space will cater for a full range of activities from toddler soft play to body pump and Zumba. The site also offers car parking, cycle storage and a school bus pull in.
Max Litchfield who is originally from Pontefract, learned to swim in the old Minsthorpe swimming pool which finally closed in 2013. Now based in Sheffield, he represented Great Britain in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, only narrowly missing out on a medal in his first Olympic final. He also represented Great Britain at the European Aquatics Championships in 2014 and 2016 and swam for England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Keiran Swift, Steve Scott, Mathew Gay, Sarah Stutz and Thomas Radding all successfully took part in swimming events at the Special Olympics National Games held in Sheffield last year.
The old Minsthorpe pool was permanently closed in 2013 after a survey revealed that basic repairs would cost well over £1.2 million, and would only repair the current dilapidated facility – not deliver a modern leisure facility. Wakefield Council then carried out a review of all its leisure centres and swimming pools across the district and agreed to build a brand new facility for the South East of the district.
Planning permission was granted for Minsthorpe Leisure in November 21016 and work started on site in January 2017. The new facility will be open to the public from 3.30pm on 15 March 2018.
Wakefield Council is also committed to delivering a £15m leisure and well-being centre in Pontefract Park and planning permission is expected to be submitted shortly.