The Eastern Gauteng Aquatics (EGA), responsible for aquatics in the district, has expressed its concern about the negative impact of the prolonged closure of two Olympic-sized swimming pools, namely Boksburg North (indoor) and Delville (Germiston) swimming pools. Both are categorised as A-grade facilities but currently suffer from various issues.
Boksburg North, the only indoor heated facility in Gauteng, delayed reopening due to defective heat pumps and pump motors. A water leak has contaminated the pool, rendering it unsafe for users. Repairing the damaged heating system alone would cost approximately R150,000.
The closure of these facilities affects competitive swimming, community use, school swimming, and talent identification. EGA has spent over R600,000 on operational costs, repairs, maintenance, and drainage unblocking for both pools.
EGA President Cheryl Knight emphasised the importance of these pools for coaching, training and talent development in the district. She expressed concern that the sport of swimming may decline without proper facilities.
With major swimming events like the Paris Olympics and South African nationals approaching, EGA urged the city to urgently address these issues to provide swimmers with the best possible chance to qualify.
The closure has forced swimmers to prepare in 25m swimming pools, impacting school galas and inter-school events. Ekurhuleni Schools Chairperson Elita Domiter echoed these concerns, highlighting the financial burden and logistical challenges imposed on schools due to the closures.
Despite temporary alternatives, the lack of Olympic-sized pools means that records set in the 25m pools would not be comparable to those set in 50m pools. The closure affects approximately 22 primary schools and 16 high schools in the Ekurhuleni school district.
In light of these challenges, both EGA and school district representatives called on the municipality to repair the pools and improve water quality to support local swimmers and ensure the continuity of the sport.
These pool closures have left Johannesburg’s aquatic sports stars in a difficult position, with potential repercussions for their training and competitive prospects.
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Photo: Supplied by Citizen