Olympian to open new £5m leisure centre

Max Litchfield
Max Litchfield

An Olympian who learnt how to swim at the old Minsthorpe Pool will star in the launch of the new £5m leisure centre that has been built in its place.

World championship swimmer Max Litchfield, a 2016 Olympian, will make the inaugral swim in the centre’s new pool during the official opening on March 15.

Councillors at the new Minsthorpe pool.

Councillors at the new Minsthorpe pool.

He will be joined by three of the district’s medal winning swimmers Keiran Swift, Steve Scott and Mathew Gay, who competed in the 2017 Special Olympics, for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box, who will open the centre, said: “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.”

Max, originally from Pontefract, learnt to swim in the former Minsthorpe Pool, which closed in 2013.

Now based in Sheffield, he represented Great Britain in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, 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.

The new leisure centre, on Ash Grove, includes a 25m, six-lane pool, studio space and a gym.

It will open from 3pm on Thursday, March 15.

Coun Michelle Collins, for South Elmsall and South Kirkby, said: “I know that some people are disappointed that there isn’t a children’s pool but given the council circumstances and budget cuts, to get a facility as good as this in our area is fantastic and will be treasured for years to come.

“I hope people come down and use it as a community asset for everyone.”