John splashes out

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The first person ever to use the pool at Daventry Leisure Centre has returned 20 years’ later to mark his birthday and encourage other older people to stay active.

Super-fit John Russell completed 80 lengths of the swimming pool at Everyone Active’s Daventry Leisure Centre recently to celebrate his landmark birthday – and prove that exercise can be enjoyed at any age.

As the first person ever to use the pool, former councillor John’s connection with the centre spans two decades.

He served on the committee which oversaw the development of the centre and, after becoming chairman of Daventry District Council, officially opened the facility back in 1996.

Since then, he has continued to use the centre regularly.

Twenty years on from that inaugural dip, and shortly after becoming an octogenarian, John took to the pool in a bid to encourage other older people in the town to remain active.

He said: “I began swimming seriously about 40 years ago and since then it has become a real passion of mine.

“I wanted to celebrate turning 80 by showing that swimming is an activity which can benefit people of all ages.

“It’s a fantastic workout but it’s also gentle on the body and can be enjoyed at your own pace.

“I would encourage anyone to get in the pool and give it a go.”

John completed the lengths – one for each year of his life – during an Everyone Active Swim 4 Fitness session.

The sessions are open to anyone aged over 16 and allow people to swim uninterrupted in lanes.

John finished the swim in just 75 minutes.

Jamie Brightwell, Everyone Active’s general manager at the leisure centre, said: “We were really impressed with the speed at which John completed 80 lengths.

“He has been a familiar face here since it opened 20 years ago, and proves that regular exercise can help people stay fit for longer.

“We have fantastic facilities available here at Daventry which people of all ages can use and enjoy.

“Our swim programme means there are water-based activities for everyone to enjoy, including aqua classes and adult swimming lessons.”

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