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A springboard for future sporting triumphs

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Lambton Pool might just produce another Rhiannan Iffland or Sam Fricker after the local facility unveiled its new springboards at the weekend.

The occasion also allowed the Hunter United Diving Academy to finally celebrate its successful grant application of $65,499 from the 2021 NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program (CBPP).

Sadly, the organisation’s equipment had fallen into disrepair in recent times.

So, the latest windfall was welcomed by everyone.

Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery and five-time Red Bull world champion cliff diver Rhiannan Iffland.

Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery, who attended the event alongside five-time Red Bull world champion cliff diver Iffland, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Fricker and City of Newcastle (CN) representatives, said it was important for sporting organisations to boast the right apparatus to foster youth engagement and assist up-and-coming athletes.

“I’m so pleased to see how the springboards will help young divers to train and grow,” she stated.

“Hunter United Diving Academy does an amazing job of coaching our youngsters in this great sport.

“The fact we have Rhiannan and Sam, an Olympian, here today demonstrates how essential supporting local clubs is.

“Both of them are from Newcastle, who trained at this pool.

“Young athletes need support to be able to grow into the household names we recognise.

“Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s great that the new springboards at Lambton Pool might uncover the next Rhiannan Iffland or Sam Fricker.”

Lambton Pool welcomes almost 185,000 visitors per year.

The springboards add to a raft of recent improvements at the centre, with more than $800,000 going towards projects like replacing the 120m-long waterslide, upgrading the water play area and replacing the diving blocks. 

“Council works closely with organisations across the city, like Hunter United Diving Academy, to enhance facilities to cater for our growing sporting community,” Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said.

“Lambton’s new diving boards are the latest example of this positive collaboration. 

“We’re committed to maintaining and investing in the swimming centre to ensure our community has continued access to high-quality sporting and leisure opportunities for active living and social connection.”

Cr Clausen said the next upgrade to Lambton Pool was the installation of temporary seating facilities to support the upcoming busy swimming carnival season.

Planning is also underway to replace the permanent grandstand at a cost expected to exceed $1 million. 

“With Lambton’s 60-year-old grandstand set for a full replacement once the pool closes for winter, City of Newcastle is installing eight temporary seating facilities that will accommodate 320 people,” he added.

“That will allow students and families to cheer on swimmers at the upcoming carnivals.

“The temporary facilities will cater for pool visitors seeking a place to relax, too.”

Development approval for the temporary seating was granted on Friday 9 December, with installation to begin next month. 

The replacement of Lambton Swimming Centre’s permanent grandstand is expected to start when the pool closes for winter in 2023.  

Other recent onsite improvements include safety upgrades, increased shade, painting and new lane ropes, while design has kicked off for a more efficient heating system. 

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