SWIMMERS in the Taunton area will get the chance to ‘compete against one of Britain’s greatest ever swimmers.

Former world champion and Olympian swimmer Mark Foster is to open the refurbished swimming pool in Station Road, Taunton.

Foster, who won six world, ten European and two Commonwealth titles, will join Taunton Deane Mayor Cllr Libby Lisgo in declaring the pool open again in the spring.

And he will dive in so local people can test themselves against him.

The pool is being refurbished at a cost of £1.2million, with the help of a £500,000 Sport England grant.

Cllr Catherine Herbert, who holds the sports, parks and leisure portfolio at Taunton Deane Council, said: “I am thrilled that Mark Foster will be coming to the pool and see at first hand just what we have achieved.

“Mark is a brilliant ambassador for his sport and is so keen to encourage participation, especially among the young. This is our aim, too, so I cannot think of a better person to be joining the Mayor for the opening.”

Since the pool closed in October, work has been carried out on stripping out the building and making structural alterations to the changing rooms, which are being converted into a ‘village’ changing facility.

The old plant equipment has been removed and the upgraded pool will boast new filtration, boilers and air handling unit, which will bring greater energy savings.

Mark Foster, one of the most successful British swimmers of all time, has a Somerset connection – he used to attend Millfield School, in Street.

Watch out for the precise date of the opening in the County Gazette and at somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news