Splashdown: Gander pool reopens (finally)

The Gander Arts and Culture Centre pool has finally reopened — not a moment to soon for area swimmers.

Arts and Culture Centre pool closed since late August to repair roof joists

The Gander pool reopened Friday after being closed for several months, and no one is happier than competitive swimmers who have had to travel to train. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

It's a month overdue, but the Gander Arts and Culture Centre pool ha finally reopened.

The pool closed in late August to repair roof joists. It was supposed to reopen in mid-January, but the roof repairs delayed cleaning and yearly maintenance that still needed to be completed.

It's so exciting for us to finally get back in our own pool.- Tim Rowsell

Competitive swimmers were especially frustrated by the delay, as the loss of the pool forced them to travel hours for swim time to St. John's, Conception Bay South and Grand Falls-Windsor.

Gander Lakers coach Tim Rowsell said there's a lot of work ahead for the kids who want to get back into competition.

"More laps. Lots and lots of training now so we're back in the pool to get back into the swing of things," said Rowsell.

The provincial championships are coming up at the end of March, and Rowsell said the swimmers who will compete for Team Newfoundland in the Canada Games will be selected that weekend.

"They need to really get back into condition," said Rowsell.

"This is a Canada Games selection year for Winnipeg so we have some members of our team who are vying for spots on Team Newfoundland, so we really want to give them their best shot and make their dream come true."

The Gander Lakers are able to practice Friday morning, after months of repairs at the pool in Gander. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Rowsell said he wanted to have the pool back as soon as possible, keeping in mind the safety of swimmers, so it's a relief the pool has reopened.

"It's so exciting for us to finally get back in our own pool so now we don't have to drive for hours and hours for just a little bit of training," he said.

"Everybody here today has come in with smiles even though it's early in the morning. They're raring to go."

The Department of Transportation and Works announced Thursday afternoon that the pool would open Friday.

"The department thanks all swimmers and residents for their patience and co-operation as the repairs took place," said a statement released Thursday.