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Gold Medalist Revisits Commonwealth Glory

Edinburgh Leisure | Wednesday 7th August 2019 10:00am

A swimmer, who won Gold in the 100m butterfly at the 1Xth Commonwealth Games, held in Edinburgh in 1970, has revisited her place of victory for the first time in 49 years.

Diane Lansley (now White), who was 17 years old when she won the only swimming gold for England at the Royal Commonwealth Games, achieved a time of 1:07.90, beating Susan Smith of Canada and Allyson Mabb of Australia by 0.0028 and 0.0077 seconds respectively.

She also won Silver for England in the 4 x 100m medley relay, along with Dorothy Harrison, Kathryn Smith, and Sylvia Platt with a time of 4:12.16, taking second place to Australia who took gold with a time of 4:06.41.

Lansley took the opportunity to visit the Commie Pool, with her husband, David White, during a visit to the Fringe where she is performing as part of the Rock Choir Live who are performing at Space Tripelex until 24th August.

Lansley, who is still a keen swimmer, said: “It’s been great to dip back into history and revisit the scene of my Commonwealth Gold.  This is the first time I’ve been back to Edinburgh, but this was too good an opportunity to miss, as I’m up here performing at the Fringe.  It’s been a nostalgic trip.

“My husband even smuggled my medals and my swimwear in his luggage and arranged with the staff at the Commie for me to have a swim in my winning lane 8 and have my picture taken poolside so that I can share it with my family.”

Duty Manager at Edinburgh Leisure, Kate Cramb, said:  “It’s been a real pleasure and an honour to meet Diane and to show her around the Commie.  The building has changed a bit since her victory, but it’s been wonderful to hear her memories.”

The 1970 British Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh from 16 July to 25 July. This was the first time the name British Commonwealth Games was adopted, was the first time that metric units rather than imperial units were used in all events, and also the first time the Games were held in Scotland. Also, these Games saw the first unique Games trademark logo: an emblem showing the Games emblem intertwined with a St Andrews Cross and a thistle. They were followed by the 1970 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games for wheelchair athletes.

The Royal Commonwealth Pool is a category-A-listed building in Edinburgh that houses one of Scotland's main swimming pools and is run by Edinburgh Leisure. It is usually referred to simply as the Commonwealth Pool and known colloquially as the 'Commie'.

The pool was commissioned by the Council under a plan by the then Lord Provost, Sir Herbert Archbold Brechin in 1966 as part of a wider project to bring the Commonwealth Games to Edinburgh. This, with the help of other committee members such as Sir John Inch, came to fruition in 1970.

Construction began in 1967 and was completed in 1970. The architecture was by Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall with structural input from Ove Arup & Partners.

The pool is the only Olympic-standard diving facility in Scotland, and as well as being used for elite diving events hosted in Edinburgh, it has also been used for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural 2018 European Championships, both hosted in Glasgow. 

In June 2009, the pool was closed to the public to begin refurbishment. The project, led by Frank and Charlie of S&P Architects (now Space&Place Architects) began in August 2009, costing approximately £37 million, and included new 25 metres (82 ft) diving and teaching pools as well as improvements to the changing rooms, café, reception, and the dive gym. It reopened in March 2012.

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