CITY of Oxford are eyeing a brighter future following a difficult time in lockdown.

The club feared they would be homeless this month as pupils returned to Oxford High School, where they have been using the pool since it reopened at the end of July.

But sessions are continuing at the north Oxford institution, while age groups are also training at Ferry and Kidlington & Gosford leisure centres and even Banbury Lido.

There is more good news on the horizon, with Oxford City Council hoping to open the dryside of The Leys pool – their usual base – in early October.

It is a huge improvement on the situation City of Oxford faced when leisure centres reopened on July 25 and treasurer Nick Richmond is cautiously optimistic.

He said: “By hook or by crook we’ve managed to put together something approaching 60 or 70 per cent of what we did before.

“From where we were at the beginning of August, we’re really pleased.

“Every month is different, though, so we’re now working out what we’ll do in October.”

The club resumed charging full fees this month, but continue to review their monthly membership costs in light of the limited programme.

Richmond said: “We’re working out what our new normal looks like.

“We’ve got kids who are still hopeful of Olympic trials, so they’re absolutely desperate to do as much as they can.

“Other swimmers are regional and there’s a good chance those competitions aren’t going to happen, so what is their motivation to train four or five times a week?

“We’re still burning cash, but we’re hoping September is the month where we’ll burn the least.”

Meanwhile, Barton Leisure Centre remains closed, with the city council in discussions with leisure partner Fusion Lifestyle.

Linda Smith, the council’s cabinet member for leisure and parks, said: “We’re still working with Fusion to come up with an affordable proposal to open on a limited basis.”

Elsewhere, Bicester Blue Fins are another club who are yet to return to their usual base.

The pool at Bicester Leisure Centre remains closed and is not expected to open again until the end of next month.

In the meantime, Blue Fins have been splitting sessions between Stowe School in Buckingham, Brackley Leisure Centre and Kidlington & Gosford.

The club are yet to return to a full programme and, while grateful for the facilities they are using, head coach Craig Oliver is looking forward to returning to Bicester.

He said: “We’ve been quite fortunate and are working with the situation, but we’re ready to ramp it up.”