Plymouth Leander are finally back in the Life Centre after a 14-month absence

PLYMOUTH Leander have finally returned to their Life Centre home after an absence of 14 months.

The centre was closed initially due to the first national lockdown in March 2020 before it was found that the building needed major structural repairs.

But this week Leander are once again able to train in the Olympic-sized pool.

“We are really pleased to be back at the Life Centre,” said head coach Robin Armayan. “It’s been a very challenging season for all of us but having our facility back will provide a degree of stability and consistency that’s very much necessary.”

Club chairman David Ellis added: “We’re excited to be back at the Life Centre and to be in, given the investment of Plymouth City Council, what will effectively be a new pool .

“As Robin has said, it’s been a challenging season, but with the support of other pool providers and especially Plymouth College, we’ve managed to keep our swimmers training.

“The re-opening of the Life Centre will though enable us to provide the training program we are accustomed to providing and we can’t wait to be able to run a competition, to give our swimmers something to aim for.”

Meanwhile, Leander’s Laura Stephens enjoyed an encouraging start to the European Championships in Budapest.

Stephens reached the 100m butterfly semi-finals and came agonisingly close to reaching the final.

She clocked 58.71 seconds in the morning heats before swimming 58.45 seconds in the semis to finish 10th overall. She is one of the two reserves for Tuesday’s final. Importantly for her Olympic ambitions, she was the top British swimmer of the four entries in the two-length event.

Stephens will be hoping to go one better and reach the final of her favourite 200m butterfly event on Wednesday.

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