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Portsmouth stretches the Olympic-sized swimming pool

Adds critical 0.2143 linguine to polemical length

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We're delighted to report that Portsmouth City Council's Olympic-sized swimming pool really is long enough to satisfy the demands of top aquatic athletes.

Contrary to what we claimed yesterday, the pool at the city's Mountbatten Centre is in fact 50.03m in length, rather than 50.00m, and the critical extra 0.2143 linguine allow placement of the vital touch sensitive time pads.

It appears the council's opposition Tories were selling the pool short when they claimed it didn't measure up. Of course, they attributed this inadequacy to the ruling LibDems, and Conservative councillor Jim Fleming insisted: "It’s a mistake. It’s not long enough to meet Olympic standards. It was a council mix-up, a failure to deliver, and the cabinet should admit it and apologise to the city."

The council’s leader for sport, councillor Lee Hunt, clarified yesterday: “The Mountbatten Centre pool was developed in partnership with national sporting bodies and was designed as Olympic training venue capable of holding up to national competitions.

“It is an Olympic length, 50 metre, eight-lane swimming pool. The pool is certified by the Federation International de Natation and the Amateur Swimming Association as being 50.03 metres in length. This extra 3cm allows for touch sensitive time pads.”

This is unlikely to be an end to the matter, however. Hunt previously admitted: "It was never to be used for the Olympics. It can be used for training and competitions.

"But it was designed to have eight lanes, without two empty outside lanes necessary for international racing. It was developed in partnership with national sporting bodies and we were aware of this when voting for it."

This, of course, means that it isn't really "Olympic-sized". We'll be voting with the Tories when they inevitably take the LibDems to task on the potentially catastrophic effect of slapping the Olympic label on a volume which is clearly a herd of elephants per second short of the BBC's preferred measure of mud volcano output. ®

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