There were plenty of reasons to celebrate at Chester City Baths recently.

Not only was the City of Chester Swimming and Waterpolo Club marking its 130-year anniversary, but thanks to community support diving in to help, the club has opened its new diving blocks.

To help mark the occasion, swimmer Cassie Wild, who began her swimming career in Chester and who represented Team GB at the 2020 Olympics, was present along with other special guests including the Lord Mayor of Chester Councillor Sheila Little.

130 years of Chester Swimming Club are celebrated.

130 years of Chester Swimming Club are celebrated.

Other guests included Brian McCann, chair of Chester City Baths, Lesley Fawkes from Swim England NW, Elaine Ludgate from Cheshire County Swimming Association, Dave Barratt from ESL Fuels and a representative from Urenco.

All of these organisations were instrumental in helping fund the new competition-standard diving blocks, which the club is very grateful for.

The Club has been the centre for aquatic sport in the city since 1894, providing residents with opportunities to learn to swim, swim competitively and play waterpolo. The Club's first home was the floating baths moored on the river, before it moved to the City Baths when they opened in 1901.

Since then, the Club has remained at the Grade II-listed venue and is now one of the few competitive swimming clubs in the UK to train in a historic pool. After the recent turbulent years, the Club's role in teaching Chester's children a vital life skill, together with supporting their physical and mental wellbeing, is now more important than ever.

The official opening of the new competition legal diving blocks, by Lord Mayor of Chester Sheila Little.

The official opening of the new competition legal diving blocks, by Lord Mayor of Chester Sheila Little.

Generations of families have benefited from the Club and grandparents who learnt to swim at the baths are now seen bringing their grandchildren to swimming lessons, competitive squad training or waterpolo sessions.

The Club continues to thrive with over 650 members and is looking forward to teaching and inspiring new generations of swimmers and water polo players in the years to come. Members are regularly seen representing the Club in both disciplines at regional and national levels.

After the official ceremony, a fun-filled afternoon was held with swimmers partaking in a sponsored swim titled '130 lengths for 130 years'.

Competitive races were interspersed with interesting challenges for the squad swimmers. Have you ever tried dolphin kick, with your hands behind your back, pushing a ball along with your nose, whilst making sealion noises? The swimmers certainly had a lot of fun trying!

The afternoon raised vital funds for the Club and, together with the generosity of the swimmers' friends and family, raised in excess of £1,000.

Afterwards, the swimmers enjoyed a feast of pizza which was very generously sponsored by Pizza Express, followed by cakes donated by Bailey Rose Bakes. Prizes for the races were kindly donated by the Crocky Trail, Williams BMW and Hartford Golf Club.