By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

July 14 - Britain’s swimmers have chosen to leave England and prepare in Edinburgh for the London 2012 Olympics. 

They agreed to use the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Scotland's capital rather than stay in Loughborough, where the British Olympic Association (BOA) are planning to set-up a pre-Games preparation camp and where they are normally based.

Along with athletics, Swimming had been one of the leading opponents to the BOA's original plan to base themselves in Aldershot before London 2012, leading them to drop the idea and relocate to Loughborough.

British Swimming National Performance Director Michael Scott said: "We’ve done an exhaustive search to identify the best possible environment for our camp.

"We looked at options both UK-based and overseas, and have chosen Edinburgh as the city to host one of the most important camps in the history of the sport.

"The City of Edinburgh Council will provide the team with the necessary access to a world-class aquatic facility at the Royal Commonwealth Pool and the historic city lends itself to having a relaxed, low-key training camp at a very high-pressure time.
“We’ve undertaken a very detailed analysis of the facilities, atmosphere and environment, and believe these will be conducive to finalising our quadrennial preparations.”

The final partnership agreement is currently being worked out with the City of Edinburgh Council. 

Access to a completely refurbished Commonwealth Pool, which is currently undergoing a £37.1 million refurbishment , has been at the heart of the decision.

The facility, which hosted the swimming during the 1970 and 1986 Commonwealth Games, offers a 50 metre pool, two 25m pools, a dry land training area, a gym and will also accommodate sport science and sport medicine services for athletes.

The pool, which in 2005 was voted among the 100 best modern Scottish buildings, is also due to stage the diving during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Glasgow.

Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council, hailed the decision by British Swimming to base themselves there as a major coup for the city.
She said: "This is a wonderful endorsement of the work currently underway to transform the RCP into a superb aquatics facility, fit for the 21st century.

"I know the British Swimming team underwent a pretty exhaustive search for the ideal venue for their training camp and they've made the right choice in selecting Edinburgh.

"The swimmers will hone their performance in top-level facilities while enjoying the vibrancy, beauty and award-winning quality of life that Scotland's capital city is famed for.

"From our residents' perspective, the arrival of some of the world's top swimming stars at that important time will inspire lots more people to get and stay active."
Paul Bush the chief operating officer for EventScotland who the team manager of the British swimming team between 1990 and 1996, said: "Securing the British Swimming team for their training camp in Edinburgh is a real coup for both the City and Scotland.

"Swimming will be a major focus of attention in 2012 and the new facilities at the Royal Commonwealth Pool will provide the perfect location for the British Swimming team's preparations.

"I am also excited by the new developments to the pool which will provide another world class facility to host major events in Scotland in the future."

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