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12 Jan 2006

The people of Newport have had their first chance to make a big splash as the city's new £5m swimming pool which officially opened its doors this weekend.Newport Pool

The South East Wales Regional Swimming Pool opened to the public on Saturday 7 January after a formal opening ceremony on Friday.

A host of guests including the mayor of Newport, Councillor Ken Critchley, the Chair of the Sports Council for Wales, Philip Carling and the leader of the council, Councillor Bob Bright were present when the pool was formally opened.

A host of Newport school children were present to make the first splash in the city's new pool.

Councillor Ron Jones, cabinet member for culture and recreation, said: "Newport has a proud history of providing people with high quality swimming facilities and this excellent new pool certainly continues this tradition.

"I would urge as many people as possible to take advantage of the outstanding family leisure facilities available at the Newport International Sports Village."

The city's new pool marks the latest development at Newport International Sports Village which is already home to a range of high quality sporting facilities, including the Wales National Velodrome, tennis centre, and Newport Stadium.

The new pool has been funded by Newport city council and the Sports Council for Wales which has contributed £1.5m of Lottery funding towards the scheme.

As part of its Health Challenge Wales campaign, the Welsh Assembly Government - together with the Sports Council for Wales - is committed to creating conditions that make it easier for the people of Wales to get active.

And the Chair of the Sports Council for Wales, Philip Carling has high hopes for the Newport development:

"The impact that Lottery funding has on the development of sport and physical activity in Wales goes far beyond the simple allocation of grants for capital facilities such as this impressive new pool in Newport.

"We have been delighted to work in partnership with Newport City Council and congratulate them on providing this facility. What happens from today onwards is however even more important. We must continue to work together to maximise the benefits that it has to offer the people of south east Wales as we work towards the creation of a healthier nation."

Following the opening night celebrations, people from across the city are being urged to come and see their new pool.

The new pool will be able to host international short-course events which will attract some of the world's top swimmers to Newport.

This new facility includes a 25 metre, eight lane competition pool with movable floor, fitness suite, teaching pool and over 500 seats for spectators.

For ease of access the new pool will fully comply with Disability Discrimination Act regulations.

The car park has been expanded and will have more than 180 spaces