Olympic medallist backs Islington swimming programme

Olympic medallist Cassandra Patten (right) with (from left) is Tom Wilkinson, Bethany Martin and Tim

Olympic medallist Cassandra Patten (right) with (from left) is Tom Wilkinson, Bethany Martin and Tim Baros at Ironmonger Row Baths. - Credit: Archant

Olympic bronze medallist Cassandra Patten was in Islington this week to encourage more residents to take the plunge at Ironmonger Row Baths.

Patten, who finished third in the 10km open water event at Beijing 2008 and was also a silver medallist at the World Championships, provided some coaching at the Dive In event designed to help members of the public improve their swimming ability.

More than 150 people of all ages and abilities came along to take part in the free sessions organised by Speedo and GLL at the Norman Street centre, which was renovated in 2012.

James McNulty, general manager of both Ironmonger Row Baths and the adjoining Finsbury Leisure Centre, is hopeful that the success of Dive In will help bring more locals to the pool – as well as the many other sports facilities on offer.

He said: “The idea was to increase participation, for local people to come and swim, get some free tuition and get used to being in the pool.

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“We have swimming sessions for toddlers all the way up to our oldest member who is over 90, so there really is something for everyone.

“Because we’re not right on the High Street a lot of people may not know we’re here, but we have a wide range of sports across the two centres for them to try.”

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For more information about the facilities and opening times at Ironmonger Row Baths, visit www.better.org.uk/venues/ironmonger-row-baths

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