Pool fit for an Olympian

By Chris Thomson | posted on May 27, 2018

THE 50m pool named after a local swimmer – who was the first Western Australian to win Olympic gold in any sport – is fit for an Olympian once more now $18,050 has been spent to fix a major leak.

Kojonup’s Kevin O’Halloran Memorial Pool – named after the local farmer who in 1976 died when a shotgun he was carrying discharged as he was climbing through a fence on his family property – had a major leak in its floor that needed remediation.

Shire regulatory services manager Mort Wignall said the leak was fixed recently at a cost of $18,050, after the pool closed for the season in March.

“We’ve got our ducks up in a row pretty well with what we want to do with that pool,” he told The Weekender.

“We’re ready to go to the next step, which will depend on what funding we can access to do a refurb and that’s going to come with a price tag of perhaps $2 million.

“We could stage it by doing the 50m pool first, which would be around $1 million and then we could do the second stage, which would be the toddlers’ pool and a plant room upgrade that would come to roughly another million.”

He said an expression of interest for funding to refurbish the 1960s-built pool had been lodged with the Federal Government, and if that application is successful, top-up funding will be needed from the State.

Mr Wignall said an upgrade of the pool would include an extra half lane with graded access for people with a disability.

“We would also provide a wet-deck, like more modern pools have, by cutting the raised section above the pool concourse and getting rid of it and forming up the remaining pool so that it’s a flush entry from the surrounds of the pool into the water body,” he said.

“It’s that raised area of concrete that is exposed to the elements and seems to succumb to concrete cancer, so that’s the part you get rid of.”

O’Halloran won gold at the 1956 Olympics in the 4x200m freestyle, after leading off in an Olympic record time of 2 min, 6.8 seconds, leaving Soviet and United States opponents in his immediate wake.

His legendary co-swimmers Murray Rose, John Devitt and Jon Henricks each increased the lead, ensuring the foursome won in world record time.

For the past four years, admission to the six-lane pool has been surprisingly cheap, at two bucks, whether you be an adult or ankle-biter. Spectators and kids under 3 get in free.

“We purposefully dropped the entry fee, and the first year we did that we increased patronage by 48 per cent,” Mr Wignall said.

The pool opens again in early November.