Ellie Simmonds OBE at Crosfields School to open £2.3 million poolBy Paul Cassell
March 08, 2013
Youngsters were on the crest of a wave when Paralympic Games gold medallist Ellie Simmonds OBE officially opened a new £2.3 million pool.
The Team GB swimmer walked into the sports hall to a standing ovation from pupils, teachers and parents at Crosfields School last Tuesday having watched a swimming gala in the pool.
Ellie, 18, broke world records on her way to victory in the 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley at the London 2012 Paralympics where she also took silver and bronze medals.
She took questions about her career and school life from pupils from all year groups before unveiling a plaque – which will be placed on the pool building – to commemorate the opening at the Shinfield Road school.
The five-lane 25m pool has a variable depth floor of up to 2m, changing facilities for 60 swimmers and seating for 180 spectators and is available for hire at evenings and weekends.
The swimming gala saw pupils demonstrate swimming exercises, water polo and a variety different strokes before representing different countries in their own mini-Olympics in relay over 200m.
The swimmers were supported by cheerleaders, wearing colourful Union flag dresses, who earlier performed a dance routine at the edge of the pool.
Headteacher Jonathan Wansey said: “Ellie is an inspiration to all of us and I can think of no-one greater to open the new pool. All the children in the school swim once a week and the standard of swimming is higher than it has ever been.”