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Photos | River pollution leads to construction of Sans Souci OIympic Pool

Swimmers, young and old, were quick to make a splash when Sans Souci Olympic pool opened in October,1965.

Increasing pollution in the Georges River, which affected the adjoining, old tidal baths, was a major reason Kogarah Council decided to build the pool.

It was "the first 50-metre Olympic swimming pool in NSW", the Leader reported on October 6, 1965 after the opening. Previously, imperial measurements were used.

The pool was officially opened by the mayor of Kogarah, Alderman Neil, and named in honour of Alderman William Saville, the principal advocate for its construction.

Kogarah Council built new pools simultaneously at Sans Souci and Carss Park, with the former the first to be finished although it was 18 weeks behind schedule.

In August, 1965, there were complaints that only one man and a boy were working on the project.

Residents did not think the surrounds could be finished in time for the announced opening date.

"But the grounds around the pool have been filled in to pool level and the last sods of the new lawns were laid late on Friday," the Leader reported.

"Total cost of the pool was about £45,000 ($90,000), of which Rockdale Council contributed £5000.

"The Sans Souci Appeal Olympic Pool Committee raised another £2800.

"The balance, including a local government loan of £18,000 was provided by Kogarah Council."

Community groups who contributed to funding the project included Sans Souci Amateur Swimming Club, the North Ramsgate Amateur Swimming Club, and the St George Water Polo Club.

Budding champion Michelle Ford started swimming at Sans Souci pool before following young coach Dick Caine to Carss Park pool.

Other Olympians who have trained at the pool include Craig Stevens, who is now the head coach.

In 2008, the pool was renamed Sans Souci Leisure Centre with the opening of a new indoor pool and other facilities.

A $1 million upgrade of the outdoor pools was completed in November, 2018.

The project included new amenities and wheelchair accessible changing rooms.

This centre's 50 metre, toddler and indoor 25 metre pool are all heated, and there is a gym and cafe.

The learn-to-swim program attracts many local residents plus people from out of the area.

A Swim Academy starts from six months through to an adult fitness squad, and there are other squads for more competitive swimmers, under the leadership of Craig Stevens.