Having rediscovered Garon’s swimming pool a week ago (see below for my report), I decided to go through with my resolution to make it a weekly visit. I arrived at 7.30 and things were much as before, although today of the 28 swimmers in the pool, over half I reckon were OAPS and getting on for half were approaching flat out in their swimming. I was disappointed the delivery of swimming goggles hadn’t come in (needed for doing front crawl on my face for longer periods) but was pleased to learn that as local resident and OAP I qualify for a special pass that gives me four free swims and what will amount to money off my other swims. I enjoyed my swim even though I felt the physical strain and the slowing down process. I reflected as an Old Southender, I began my swimming career as a child, in the sea, continued at the Westcliff Open Air pool in my youth, then to Warrior Square pool in my middle years and now as an oldie, at Garons. If I have a mild criticism, while it is a great location for me (I live just up the road) I wonder how those who don’t have transport fare, given the pool is more on the edge of town. But these two experiences have done me good and I much hope to continue and improve, thankful I am still able to do so.
I have enjoyed and partaken in swimming, on a fairly regular basis ever since I learned to swim, around the age of 8, and it has been one sporting discipline I was modestly good at.
Yet it has been well over a year since I last swum. Before that I took my son swimming until he lost interest. Today I decided to put right that absence. I went to the Garon’s sports and leisure centre, which includes a decent size swimming pool and an even more impressive dining pool. I checked out the times and was told every day between 7.30 and 9am the pool was not only open to the public but it was for adults only, ensuring if you wanted to seriously swim, you can.
I arrived at Garons around 8am and got changed etc. with little fuss. I found that half the pool was laned off (slow, medium and fast) and I took my first tentative, almost sedentary steps into the water (like riding a bike, the skill never goes away although delivery might). I suppose there were around 20 old dears swimming, including me, and there were two life guards seated either side of the pool. I reckon half the swimmers combined leisurely swimming with social chit chat, and I reckon when it came to swimming flat out, no more than two persons did so. Most did breast stroke with a few doing front or back crawl. I started off in the slow lane (and was still overtaken by old dears) and did mainly breaststroke, although I did resort to my favoured front crawl, which I would have done more off if the strap of the swimming goggles I used to use hadn’t broken.
I enjoyed my experience and was glad I made the effort. While £5.20 was more than I had expected to pay, I suppose on balance it was good value. The changing and other facilities could not be faulted. Despite going at a modest pace, I still felt aches and pains. I ruefully reflected on the days when I might have done 30 quickish lengths during my work lunch break but am now grateful I could at least do what I did. I couldn’t help but reflect that we are lucky to have such superb nearby facilities. I look forward to becoming a regular user.