Yesterday was my first swim in a pool for 149 days. Me and my lovely wife have been for a few outdoor swims, but my last swim in a pool was back in March. When the pools and gyms closed, like most people, I honestly thought that it would only be for a few weeks, maybe a month at the most, not almost half a year.
Anyway, things have changed. The pool I usually swim at is in Horwich, close to where I work, when I’m not working from home. There is a strict booking system, and only half hour slots for swimming, so I booked my place in 7.30am – 8.00am slot, although you can stay in the pool until 8.15, which gives enough time to clear and clean the changing area before the next slot arrives. You also have to turn up ‘beach’ ready, i.e. wearing your swimming gear under your clothes. I arrived at the sports centre a little early to find a small queue. One woman was very beach ready as she was wearing a dry robe with her swimming cap and goggles already on her head.
Bang on 7.30 we were allowed in, swiping our membership cards and following the one-way system to the changing rooms. Lockers were all closed so you have to leave your bag poolside. Horwich pool is 6 lanes wide, and would usually have 3 lanes roped off; fast, medium and slow, with the other half of the pool open. Yesterday there were 3 double-wide lanes, again one fast, one medium and one slow. The idea being that swimmers would be further apart, especially as you were not allowed to overtake down the middle.
I jumped in the fast lane, although I don’t really think of myself as ‘fast’, and set off. Because there more people my swim became a bit of a fartlek session, swimming slow for a bit behind someone and then faster when the lane was clear. After about 30 minutes the pool slowly emptied, allowing me to swim at my pace a bit more.
Once out of the pool it was a quick change, without a shower, and then following the one way system out of the sports centre along corridors that I never knew existed. Overall the experience was good. I would like to be able to swim for longer, but 40 minutes is much better than nothing. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. The swim was also quite relaxed, as really fast swimmers or people wanting to do ‘sets’ were absent. I have already booked a slot for next week, and hopefully before the end of the month the Uni pool in Lancaster will also re-open. It’s good to be back in the pool.