BY JACKIE KEOGH
THE community pool in Baltimore is changing its name and will now be called the Wild Atlantic Pool.
The rebranding is in recognition of the fact that it has helped to promote wild swimming in the area – a sport that, according to Ocean 7’s star, Steve Redmond, ‘would not have taken off without the pool in Baltimore.’
Steve said: ‘The three pillars of support for wild swimmers in this area are the Atlantic, Lough Hyne and the Wild Atlantic Pool.’
Two other well-known wild swimmers, Sean Murray and Eoin O’Sullivan, also credit it with having provided them with an all-hour and all-weather facility to train for their recent successful swim from Europe to Africa, across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Stephen Black, who coaches the team and was with them on the back-up boat, said: ‘I am so proud of them. Who, a few short years ago, would have thought that this would have been possible? But with the facilities we have now in West Cork, we can look forward to many more spectacular events in the years ahead.’
The Wild Atlantic Pool has been refurbished and upgraded in recent months. A new eco-friendly heating system, using heat pumps, keeps the water at a comfortable 30 degrees, the gym has been re-styled and refurbished and new equipment has been installed.
And – in a bid to enhance The Wild Atlantic Pool as a leisure facility – the changing rooms have been upgraded and a new viewing area overlooking the pool has been developed. There’s even a new coffee machine ready to be installed. Another innovation that people are talking about is the introduction of a new water cleaning mechanism that uses ultra violet light.
‘The advantage of this system,’ according to Jim O’Donnell, who is a director of the pool, ‘is that it allows a major cutback in the use of chemicals.’
Jim added: ‘The Baltimore facility is quite unique in the country in that it is owned and run by the Baltimore community.
‘It is widely supported, not just by the people of Baltimore and Skibbereen, but from further afield too.
And by changing its name, we want to reflect its widespread appeal.’