‘Swimming is so important for our wellbeing’

Swimming club had sessions cut

Friday, 8th October 2021 — By Anna Lamche

Cally Masters swim club

A post-dip coffee and chat for the club swimmers

THE only swimming club for adults in Islington was left high and dry after leisure operators cut its time in the pool.

The Cally Masters, a group which gives older swimmers the chance to train and compete in races, was told it could only book two-and-a-half hours a week at The Cally after the pandemic.

In the past, club sessions were allowed more than twice that. Greenwich Leisure Limited, or Better, has now apologised for slashing the swimming club’s time in the water.

With 75 regular members, Cally Masters is open to all swimmers over the age of 18. Their oldest swimmer is 84.

“The club is very important to our members, not just to keep fit but also for wellbeing,” said club chair Mari Williams.

Before the pandemic, Cally Masters used to supplement their time at their home pool, Cally Pool, with sessions at Beacon High School’s swimming pool every Monday.

But Beacon High School’s swimming pool has not reopened post-Covid and then came the decision to cuts its time at The Cally.

“What we wanted was to talk to someone. We just want a proper conversation about it,” said Ms Williams.

GLL Partnership Manager Tyron Fuller said in an email Cally Masters this week: “Your club is very important to us and the community and I want to send my sincere apologies that you currently feel negated by us.”

He has offered the club a new slot at Highbury Pool on Sundays and a meeting to discuss what Mr Fuller described as Better’s “miss communications” [sic]. Ms Williams said: “We’re delighted to have another session reinstated and more importantly a meeting to help improve communication now and in the future.”

A Better spokesperson told the Tribune: “The core issue here is the current closure of the swimming pool at Beacon School due to maintenance issues that are the responsibility of the school not Better. “This closure has had a knock-on effect on the pool time available to all swimming clubs in Islington. “Once Beacon School’s maintenance work has been completed, the issue will be fully resolved, with Cally Masters and other clubs able, once more, to access their optimum amount of pool time.”

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