Local Face: Katrina Larkin

A convert is always more zealous than one brought up in the faith and so it is with Katrina Larkin, the chairman and personification of Wendover Swimming Association.

Katrina, a non-swimmer, came to live in Wendover from Prestwood with husband Laurie and daughters Gillian and Anna in 1985 because it seemed to be a nice place with just the house they needed. Little did she realise then what a profound impact Wendover would have on her and she on Wendover. In September 1987 Katrina started work at John Colet School and became aware of the open air pool, its use by the schools and Wendover Swimming Association but she couldn’t benefit because she couldn’t swim. At the age of 38, not only did Katrina learn to swim but Laurie came too – the girls were already confirmed mermaids. There has been no looking back.

When Katrina joined Wendover Swimming Association there was no thought of a cover on the pool and when the idea was first mooted she was one of those who opposed the concept because she liked swimming in the open and couldn’t abide confined spaces. Once again, Katrina has been converted and is delighted that now it can be used open or closed, “That’s the beauty of it”.

Katrina is not the only one to enjoy the new facility. Every session since opening has been “busy” and on many hot days and evenings the lifeguards have had to impose the numbers rules, for insurance purposes:

With one lifeguard 40 swimmers. With two lifeguards 50 swimmers.

On these occasions a fair rotation is ensured by calling for holders of each coloured band to take a turn on the side. Clearly, the more helpers the better: lifeguards, first aiders, administrators. Regular helpers have the benefit of FREE MEMBERSHIP; your children swim free and get in first; help with training costs; access to the helpers swimming session.

WSA Opening Times: Mon – Fri Earlybirds 6.30-8.00am; Summertime Family, 2.00-3.00pm: Holidays, Open session 3.00-4.00pm (Wed. adults); Evenings 6.30-8.00pm; Saturday Afternoon, 2.00-4.00pm Sunday – Family, 10.30-11.15am; Helpers only, 11.15-12.00pm; Afternoon, 3.00-5.00pm.

The rota for Summer Holiday sessions is extra to the normal rota (organised by Beth Dennis tel 01296 622440) and functions only by extra volunteering. Please contact Melanie Evans on 01296 625198. Family sessions mean that parents must be in the pool with any Junior Members present. During school hours Wendover Pool is used for educational purposes – the three Schools on the Wharf Road Campus – but anyone who would like to start a Pre-school, Senior Citizen or other Session should contact John Colet School, Wharf Road, tel 01296 623348, fax 01296 622086. Similarly, when it is not in use by Wendover Swimming Association, it can be hired.

For many years Katrina was the Rota Organiser for Wendover Swimming Association, a job guaranteed to make her well known. She took over the Chair in 1995 and saw it through the traumatic Summer of 1996 when building work meant it did not open at all. More than anyone else, she witnessed the hard work of Chris Busby, John Colet Deputy Head who insisted at each stage that the building work and materials should be right. The re-opening of the pool revealed minor faults which are in the process of being rectified but now it is over to Katrina to sort things out. Katrina kept faith with this project through all the difficult times and continues to inspire her committee and friends. Three cheers for Katrina’s past work – let’s hope she can continue this level of commitment as an example to us all.

Extra helpers are needed to ensure swimming pool can remain open all year round, please contact Margaret Tyrrell, tel 01296 622935.