Then President Mary McAleese with Cllr Kevin Sheahan, who was Cathaoirleach, with Mary O'Donoghue, chairperson, Askeaton Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre, at the opening of the centre in early 2008
IT’S BEEN 10 years this month since Askeaton Pool and Leisure Centre was opened by President Mary McAleese, and things for one of West Limerick’s most prominent sports facilities are going from strength to strength.
The centre, which currently caters to more than 40 primary schools for swimming lessons, also serves a multitude of other groups – such as Limerick Sports Partnership, West Limerick Resources, and the Brothers of Charity.
And what started off as a centre with three to four fitness classes and two days of swimming lessons per week, has now grown into a major facility which caters to the local community seven days a week.
“We have 27 fitness classes now every week, and they can be accessed on a pay-as-you-go basis as well,” said manager Declan Nash.
The classes include the very popular body conditioning, kettlebells, and pilates – which have proven popular with customers from across the west of the county.
“We are constantly growing. We have also extended our opening hours due to demand, and we are now open from 6am until 9pm. Even outside hours, Askeaton Swimming Club use the facilities as early as 5am,” said Declan.
The leisure centre, comprising the 25m pool facility and a fully fitted gym, is a lesson in community spirit, due to its unique ownership structure.
The facility is 51 percent owned by Limerick City and County Council, 49 percent owned by the local town swimming club. Many will remember the outdoor swimming pool in Askeaton, which was the precursor for the current top-class facility.
It is completely run by management company Coral Leisure, which operates nine centres nationwide.
When the new centre was being opened, the management was put out to tender, and the experienced leisure company Coral have maintained the modern facility since over the last decade.
In late 2017, the centre was awarded the Gold Standard under the White Flag Scheme – the most sought after accolade in the leisure and fitness industry.
It is awarded to facilities that meet the high operational standards set out in the scheme, a standard designed to encourage continuous improvement within the sector and recognises facilities for their “remarkable standards in the areas of safety, hygiene, customer service and human resources”.