SWANSEA, Wales, June 5. On the 21st April 2003, the new Wales National Pool, Swansea was opened to the public for the first time. This prestigious new facility includes a 25m warm up and training pool and an eight lane 50m Olympic Pool, with one of the largest moveable floors in the UK.
The funding for this development came from the Sports Council for Wales, which invested £8.5 million; the largest ever lottery award in Wales, together with the City and County of Swansea and the University of Wales Swansea.
At concept stage, the intention was to create a venue for national and local championships and to develop a state of the art training facility for the Wales National Team’s preparations for Athens 2004 and the Commonwealth Games in 2006.
It was also considered essential that the University Students, the local schools and the local community have full access to this sporting centre of excellence. In order to meet all these objectives, a Moveable Floor and Boom was included in the project.
Moveable Floors and/or Booms provide functionality within the swimming pool environment. The ability to vary the depth of the pool water by moving the base of the pool gives scope for various activities including sub-aqua diving, water aerobics, water polo, swimming facilities for the disabled, competition and recreational swimming and potentially many others.
The incorporation of a submersible Boom at the Wales National Pool allows the main pool to be split into two completely separate pools. Also included is a central hinge running perpendicular to the Boom, giving optimum use of the water area available.
The Moveable Floor, designed and installed by the Derbyshire based Thermelek Engineering Services Limited, is one of the largest Moveable Floors in the United Kingdom, spanning over 494.50m2. The structure of the Moveable Floor is manufactured from grade 316L stainless steel, formed into a latticework with longitudinal members spanning between main transverse beams. The structure of the Boom, also provided by Thermelek, is similar to that of a Moveable Floor.
The Floors and Booms are covered with high-density polyethylene panels secured to the structure by stainless steel fittings. All fixings, with the exception of those incorporated at access points, are hidden from view, thus enhancing the aesthetic appearance. Buoyancy blocks are secured to the latticework and the structure is restrained with the aid of stainless steel cables, which locate to pulley blocks/ anchor plates on the base of pool.
The stainless steel structures are prefabricated and shipped to location in suitably sized sections. When in location the structures are simply bolted together, panel finished and the mechanical operating equipment is incorporated.
Movement of the Floor is achieved using hydraulic cylinders electronically operated utilising the latest control systems. Positioning of the Floor is carried out from a remote poolside panel. Audible and visual water depth indicators are suitably located for accurate placing. The Boom’s movement is controlled pneumatically to allow smooth and safe operation.
Safety is a priority when designing any product with which the public will have contact. Fail-safe interlocks and alarms are incorporated on the Moveable Floor with appropriate facility to avoid unauthorised use. The Aquaterr Boom also has a locking mechanism to prevent any danger should the pneumatic system become impaired in any way, whilst simultaneously assisting bathers in safe access on to the boom in its raised position.
Using their Moveable Floor and Boom to its full potential, the operators of the Wales National Pool have put together an exciting schedule of swimming and training classes, catering for the needs of their public.
Jeremy Cole, Sports Manager of the Wales National Pool has commented, "The Moveable Floor and Boom have maximised our revenue potential. This product allows us to facilitate a wide range of aquatic activities satisfying the majority of demands from our customer base, from our national swimming team to our aqua school whom will benefit from shallow water. Not only can we operate effectively in both long and short course modes but we can also vary the floor depths and angles."
Thermelek Engineering were also responsible for the Water Treatment and Filtration system on all the pools. The combination of these two products by one sub-contractor eliminates any possible interface anomalies. Thermelek will design a suitable water treatment system with efficient and effective distribution, catering for the presence of the Moveable Floor and Boom.
Jeremy Cole added "Since the opening of our facility, we have had many compliments from our customers about the quality of our swimming facilities, in particular the sparkling clarity and perfect temperature of the water".
This project has undoubtedly been a tremendous success, completed on budget and on schedule for the big opening. The development team comprised of Limbrick Limited (formerly Stephen Limbrick Associates), Faithful and Gould, Atkins, Devin Consulting Engineers and Shepherd Construction.
The Wales National Pool truly is a step forward for the development of the sport of swimming in Wales.