A renamed BSAC club has moved to a spectacular new pool and clubhouse, which is set to transform dive training in the area.

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre, west of Birmingham, was originally built for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It contains an Olympic-size swimming pool (one of only two in the West Midlands region), and the only 10-metre diving board with 25 metre pool in the whole of the Midlands. This impressive facility has recently opened to the public and is set to provide community sport for many decades to come, thanks to its facilities including two four-court sports halls, a 108-station gym, a 28-station ladies-only gym, three activity studios, an indoor cycling studio, and more.

It is also the new home for a local BSAC club, which celebrated their arrival with a public launch event on Sunday 23rd July at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre. 

Sandwell SAC members

New name, new clubhouse 

Formerly known as Alpha Divers Sandwell and now known as Sandwell Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC 1249), for many years the club was based at Smethwick Swimming Baths, a beautiful 1930s art deco venue. However, this pool had been in a state of decay for some time now, being just too expensive to keep running and repair. Each year, it was given another year to safely run, but for a long time club members were unsure of the future for a club pool or where they would go. 

Fortuitously, a nearby site was chosen for the building of a pool needed for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, giving the club a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a new home. Club member and former Mayor of Sandwell Dr Ann Jaron explained: 

Six years ago I was on a select committee that was looking at our old facilities, and I shall never forget the officer’s face as he danced into the room saying ‘hey, I’ve got some news.. what do you think about Birmingham Sandwell putting in a bid for the Commonwealth Games?’ Well, we all started dancing with him. It wasn’t easy, but the aquatics building came in on time, on budget, and we had the most fantastic Commonwealth Games. 
And now we’ve got the pool for ourselves! I’ve got my dive kit, I’ve just been down to the bottom, and I am so happy with this place.

Sandwell SAC members

Andy Bessant, Chair at Sandwell Sub-Aqua Club commented:

Our dive pool is 25m by 25m, and 5m deep. We already have a nice relationship with another group of divers who use the facilities, and once we’ve got ourselves established here we’d like to invite other BSAC clubs along on a Wednesday evening to come and use these world-class facilities with us.  

Club member Amy Fairhurst said:

We’re hoping this facility gives people lots more options to join. We’ve got a longer pool session, we have instructors and assistant instructors to help trainees, and as we grow we plan to do more with Scout groups, colleges and similar groups of young people to give them water confidence and skills that can carry with them for life.

Sandwell SAC members

Lee Dugmore, Training Officer added:

To anybody who’s never dived before, don’t worry – it’s not as scary as you think! If you’ve got a love of nature, want to try something new or just have a bit of an adventurous spirit, then scuba diving could be the thing for you. Learn new skills, develop existing skills, and see a different side to British Waters. With this brand new facility here in Sandwell we’re ready to welcome would-be members from far and wide who want to learn to dive, make new friends and be part of our community too!

Sandwell SAC members

Sandwell’s instructor team have been involved in training groups of military students from Birmingham-based HMS Forward as Ocean Divers and Sports Divers as part of their MoD organised enrichment. As well as gaining a pool the club has recently bought a new engine for their RIB, so with new members, facilities and equipment the future looks bright for this reborn BSAC club.



Dive the Aquatics Centre with Sandwell Sub-Aqua Club

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre is located Londonderry Lane, Smethwick, B67 7EW and Sandwell Sub-Aqua Club trains on Wednesday evenings 8.30pm-10pm. Contact info@sandwellsubaquaclub.org.uk for more information.

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