ALMOST 20 years of waiting came to an end for a group of Orange swimmers yesterday when they were able to test the water of the 25-metre indoor pool for the first time.
Swimfit members Gay Stone and Jenny Hazelton, Aquatic Centre manager Josh Maley and project supervisor Robin Edwards were the first swimmers to try out the new pool.
And from today, you can too with the entire complex set to open to the public from 6am.
Swimfit chairperson Rob Williamson said the opening of the centre was a great day for the group behind the push for the pool.
“It brings to fruition a lot of years and plans and fundraising from kindergarten kids right through to the elderly,” he said.
“It’s an investment in reducing childhood obesity, reducing juvenile crime by giving them an outlet and it offers arthritis and pain relief for those suffering who have got nowhere.
“It also has the potential to save lives.”
Mr Williamson said Swimfit would hand over around $100,000 in funds for the pool at the official opening later in the year.
Fellow Swimfit member Jenny Hazelton said the 27 degree temperature of the pool was perfect.
She was thrilled the pool was finally open after the push for the project began in 1994.
“It’s been worth the wait,” she said.
“I commend council for keeping the outdoor pool open all winter.”
Gay Stone shared her enthusiasm.
“It’s a wonderful facility in Orange for the climate and for the number of children who do struggle to swim 50 metres,” she said.
“At times we wondered if it would ever be seen in our lifetime.”
Mr Williamson said the delays that had plagued the pool were an embarrassment for the council.
“The delays we had were political,” he said. “The previous council has been here too long and they’ve argued on personalities.
“[Orange] started as a leader and now we’re in catch-up mode with smaller centres.”