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Chance to train at new centre will give Scots a ‘formidable advantage’, claims Renwick

April 18, 2013
Robbie Renwick had to convince management to keep pool cold. Picture: Mark Mainz

Robbie Renwick had to convince management to keep pool cold. Picture: Mark Mainz

Robbie Renwick will be like a kid in a sweetie shop next week when the Tollcross International Swimming Centre reopens following its £15m revamp.

The Aberdonian has spent the last 18 months trying to squeeze in his high-performance pool time around the contrasting demands of schoolkids, recreational swimmers and pensioners at the muni-cipal pools at the Gorbals or Springburn, so it will be from the ridiculous to the sublime when he is handed the keys to the very venue where he will attempt to defend the Commonwealth Games gold medal he won in the 200 metres medley in Delhi four years ago next summer in Glasgow.

The chance to acclimatise to the swimming centre – it will contain two 50m pools and a state-of-the-art gym – a full year before the Games begin is a formidable advantage for all home competitors and Renwick, a sixth-place finisher at the London Olympics, is determined to use it to the full.

“I trained and competed at the old Tollcross [pool] for five years,” said Renwick, “but, for the last 18 months it has been under development. I am really looking forward to seeing what they have done. Not only have they built another 50m pool, there is fantastic gym and everything is in the one place so I will go from really fighting for pool time in the Gorbals or Springburn to having ample pool time at Tollcross.

“We tend to start really early, so I’ve been up at 5am most mornings, training for 2½ hours then back in at 5pm at night,” he added. “It does get busy because the public need the other half of the pool. We like to train in cold water because it keeps you cool while the public like warm water.

“For the first few months it was hard to convince management that we needed the pool cold to get the best out of ourselves but hard work is hard work. I still managed to make a lot of improvement in the 18 months going into the Olympics. It is great that we can get in [at Tollcross] a year early and get used to the new pool.”

Renwick, along with the Olympic rowing gold medallist Katherine Grainger, was speaking at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, as he attended the launch of the 2013 Bank of Scotland Local Heroes scheme which will provide assis-tance to 82 talented athletes and their families. Their attendance preceded today’s anticipated announcement of Sir Chris Hoy‘s retirement from cycling, which leaves something of a void in Team Scotland.

Renwick feels the swim team, which also includes home favourite Michael Jamieson, can help fill the void. “I am not surprised he is retiring,” said Renwick. “There comes a point where your body just can’t hack it any more. I am sure he would have loved being in the Commonwealth Games in the velodrome [named after him] but I always got the impression with Chris that it was gold or nothing. If he doesn’t think he can win gold, it’s [retirement] probably the best thing to do.

“It is going to be a big hit for Team Scotland not having Chris there. He is such a great character and such a friendly guy, but swimmers always do really well at the Commonwealths and our team is looking very strong. There are three or four people going for gold medals. Michael Jamieson is going to be a real gold medal prospect and he’s a Glasgow boy.”


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