Former councillor calls for annual swimming race to be reinstated at Splott Pool

February 18, 2013 No Comments »
Former councillor Wyndham Powell, who would like to see the Cardiff Swimming Club gala brought back at Splott Pool.

Former councillor Wyndham Powell, who would like to see the Cardiff Swimming Club gala brought back at Splott Pool.

A former councillor has called on Cardiff council to reinstate an annual swimming race at a threatened city pool.

The swimming race between Cardiff city councillors was an annual fixture at the Cardiff Swimming Club gala at Guildford Crescent Swimming Baths.

Wyndham Powell, 86, was declared the winner of the last ever race in 1971 – after the other competitors failed to turn up.

He said bringing the race back could help rescue Splott pool, which is set to close as part of council budget cuts, after plans for a new “leisure hub” on the site are put in place.

The former Penylan ward councillor, who served on the council from 1968 to 1972, said he had been invited to take part in the race that year as part of the Cardiff Swimming Club annual gala at Guildford Crescent Swimming Baths.

Wyndham, who had been a member of Cardiff Swimming Club in the 1950s and has been involved in a variety of sports over the years, said he agreed on the understanding that three or four other councillors had also signed up for the race.

But he said he discovered at the last minute, much to the amusement of his friends, that the other councillors had withdrawn from the race.

He said: “I was pressed to swim the event alone as it was a feature in the gala programme. I reluctantly obliged by swimming two scheduled lengths and received the cup to raucous cheers and whistles.”

But the cup has never been competed for since and has remained in storage at Wyndham’s home. It is engraved with the name of the famous company F.W.Woolworth and dated 1937.

Wyndham has now suggested bringing back the race and hopes some of the current city councillors might be interested in taking part so the trophy can find a new home.

Wyndham, a retired architect, said this could be a chance for councillors to set an example to the public and to encourage swimming.

He said this could be particularly relevant given last year’s Olympic Games and Cardiff’s plan to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games as well as the possible loss of Splott Pool proposed in the 2013-14 draft budget.

Wyndham said: “By councillors taking an interest in this, they could be acting as figureheads and it would allow people to see councillors in a different light instead of being criticised.”

Anyone interested in organising the race or taking part, should call reporter Alison Sanders on 029 2024 3637.

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