Friday, November 9, 2012
A new system that lets disabled swimmers get into the water unaided at public leisure pools has been tested in London’s East End as a legacy of the 2012 Paralympics.
The new British-designed Poolpod lift mechanism fitted to the side of the pool was tested by Paralympic swimmer Susie Rodgers during trials at Mile End Park leisure centre.
The triple bronze medallist said: “London 2012 was fantastic for raising awareness of disabled sport—now this lift mechanism adds to the legacy by improving access to the water for everyone.”
Poolpod is a submersible platform removing the need for a hoist or swing. It enables the less mobile or even pregnant women to be lowered into the water while standing or use a submersible wheelchair they can transfer to from their own wheelchair in the changing room.
The winning idea in an international design competition run by the Olympic Delivery Authority resulted in the prototype being funded by the London Marathon Charitable Trust, which has now been successfully tested at Mile End in the Tower Hamlets Olympic ‘host’ borough and is soon to be installed at the Aquatics centre.
Trust chairman John Bryant said: “It’s a fantastic piece of British design. Lifts and hoists can often be cumbersome and even off-putting for those wanting to get into the water by themselves with minimum fuss.”
British Swimming has now bought seven Poolpods, which are being installed in a trial scheme across the country including Stoke Mandeville stadium, spiritual home of the Paralympics and disability sport.
British Swimming’s Kate McKnight said: “The new system is a great asset for those who feel swings and hoists are obtrusive.”
The working model has already won a ‘New Product of the Year’ award.