Video - Summer Days: Ponds Forge legacy may just be starting

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There’s no need to go through the Don Valley Stadium saga in this column as The Star has been at the forefront of chronicling its demise over the last few months.

The word that lazily gets thrown into the Don Valley argument is ‘legacy’, with particular reference to last summer’s Olympic Games. Well, that particular venue wasn’t ever part of the Games. It was built at a different time and for a different purpose. If people want to, or should I say would have wanted to, use Don Valley for legacy purposes then that is up to them.

Ellie Faulkner of Sheffield at the British Championships last week. Pic: Clint Hughes/PA Wire

Ellie Faulkner of Sheffield at the British Championships last week. Pic: Clint Hughes/PA Wire

Who knows when a legacy will begin to take hold anyway?

Ponds Forge was built for the same 1991 World Student Games as other facilities in the city such as Don Valley and Hillsborough Leisure Centre.

There has hardly been an Olympic-swimmer production line at the centre since it opened its doors but sometimes things just take a bit of a wait.

Last week at Ponds Forge, Sheffield Swim Squad began to show it is becoming one of the leading forces in swimming with some excellent performances at the British Championships.

The city’s Ellie Faulkner and Rotherham’s Rebecca Turner have already represented Great Britain at the London Olympics and will back themselves to make Rio in 2016.

Both have only ever known a facility as grand as Ponds Forge to train at. It’s second nature for them to turn up at 5am and jump in the pool at a venue that, despite its age, is still very much world-class.

If we’re measuring ourselves in Olympians, well, they don’t come along very often and there’s two right under our noses.

Other have been attracted to train here too.

Matthew Johnson, aged 18, is widely regarded as one of the country’s most promising talents. He’s from Dewsbury. Lewis Coleman, 21, is from Bury but moved over this side of the Pennines three years ago to train with ‘Team Steel’ and benefit from the coaching staff and facilities.

There’s others; Tom Sunter, Braxston Timm, Nick Grainger, David Gregory, Isobel Grant - all names it might be worth remembering. If one or two from this group go onto something special in 2016 will people say it’s finally Ponds Forge’s swimming legacy?

Or will it just be the talent of highly-motivated young athletes all spurring each other on?

It’s an interesting debate.