Ayr’s new leisure centre could still be a flagship for Olympic diving in Scotland, according to the head of Scottish Swimming.

Euan Lowe, the chief executive of the body that oversees swimming nationally, has made it clear that the fight for Ayr’s diving club and the future of the sport in Scotland is still on.

It comes just days after Ayr was set to wave goodbye to decades-long diving legacy after sport was reportedly axed from new plans.

Mr Lowe made a heartfelt plea to include a replacement for the Citadel’s diving board – the only such facility in the west of Scotland – claiming it ‘could be part of the solution' – during the pandemic recovery.

He said: “South Ayrshire Council contacted Scottish Swimming during the early stages of developing their plans for the new leisure centre in Ayr to replace the Citadel.

“As we know, the leisure industry plays a pivotal role in supporting the health of the nation and never more so than during and after this pandemic. 

“While we welcome the plans to construct a modern, fit-for-purpose replacement leisure centre, as the governing body for aquatics in Scotland, we have written to SAC as part of their consultation expressing concerns that the plans did not include any replacement for the diving facilities at the Citadel.

“This would mean there would be no diving facilities in the west of Scotland.

“The new centre presents an opportunity to become a flagship for this growing Olympic sport which has gained popularity in recent years thanks to the development of grass roots diving programmes in other parts of the country and a strong performance pathway within Scotland.”

He pointed to the success of 2020 Olympians Grace Reid and James Heatly. 

And added: “To this extent Scottish Swimming has asked the council to give their plans further consideration given the success of recent diving programmes in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. 

“We do recognise that as a result of the last 18 months that the financial landscape is challenging however the flexibility of a good sized, deep pool that can be programmed to add value to the community, clubs and sustainability to a facility.

“And be part of the solution as we help people to recover their physical and mental health as part of the pandemic recovery, while having fun and enjoyment at their local pool. Diving can be part of the solution.”