In my rather tainted wisdom late last year, I went back to indoor swimming to increase my distances. I really don't like it but needs must.
The alternative was to spend most of my pre-work time in the morning stuck in traffic, which then only meant a short 30 minute swim, hardly worth it really. I started going to my local council run swimming pool in December 2017. I tried it out a few times before taking out the membership, and it seemed acceptable. I was not expecting miracles, I just wanted my distances back back to where they were.
Well the opposite happened. My distances took a nosedive, excuse the pun.
It is very difficult when you have a two year old, to fit in all the things you want to do, but somehow I manage, though I have always been good at bending time. But, if I want to continue being a long distance swimmer I need to work on it, and bend time some more. My distances were salvageable, but I knew that if I delayed any longer, then I would be at the point where a lot of remedial work was required, and considering the years of long distance swimming, events and charity swims I have taken part in, it would be a shame for it to all end.
On the subject of Monster, I found out last year that they do not like wetsuits. Of course this became apparent after I purchased one. But, they clearly follow after their mother when it comes to swimming. Cooler temperatures do not bother them, and several weeks ago my hands were pushed out of the way so they could swim by themselves. You could tell the freedom of me not holding them was liberating and exciting. From my perspective, it was also very exciting, I had taught this little person to swim, but at the same time I didn’t want to let them go.
My new membership with my local pool in November had ended a long relationship with the lido at the same time, and while I was expecting good things to come from it, not much did unfortunately. All I received was an uncomfortably hot pool, over crowding, and Monster continuously falling over in the changing village. It was a hazard waiting to happen. I was drinking over 750ml of water per half an hour because the water was so hot, that cannnot be healthy to say the least. I had to change my kit so I wore the thinnest swimsuit Speedo did, so I had to sacrifice support and compression, and most of the time I wanted to go without a swim cap just to try and keep my temperature down.
Don’t get me started on lane etiquette either.
It is a swimmers’ responsibility, irrelevant of their level to ensure they can swim properly in the lane, and this includes knowing how to overtake. You wouldn’t put a person who has recently passed their driving test on a Formula 1 track, so why do people act erratically in a swimming pool?
By the time March came around I was ready to leave. I entered formal complaints to the leisure centre, mainly regarding their changing village being flooded with puddles which was causing Monster to fall over. But, I was assured that the floor sloped downwards and that there were grips on the floor so these things didn’t happen. Clearly these were working. Monster fell over on every occasion we went and Monster is not the type of child to fall over. They are very sturdy on their feet.
There were no replies to my complaint emails, and I had to go to the council in the end just to get a response from the centre. The intention was to complain in person to them, but when you are subject to tight deadlines, and a toddler that just wants to go home, the last thing you want to do is raise a grievance with your leisure centre. Rather ironic really, a ‘leisure’ centre that causes stress. But of course, because none of these occasions were reported to them, they were not going to take it further.
I said to them that if I had to pay for the membership until it had reached it's end then I would, but as soon as that last direct debit payment was taken, the membership would be cancelled. Since April when my last complaint was entered (this was the third with no previous reply), I decided not to go back at all. The whole experience had been terrible, and no one should ever be subjected to customer service of that level, not to mention potential injury that could have happened.
So while I waited for a response I rejoined the lido. Some may call this hasty, I on the other hand was fed up with being ignored and dealing with a below standard facility.
I have been back at the lido for the last few weeks, the husband and I have become more organised to ensure that I can get there on time in the mornings, and I couldn't be happier. I have amazing colder swims in the morning, I don't get barged out of the way by people who do not adhere to lane etiquette, which again is there for everyone's safety, and there is a lower risk of me falling over in the changing village, because they actually keep it clean.
I regret leaving the lido and going to my local pool, and I am glad this all happened as it made me appreciate the lido more. I knew I was going to miss it, now I don’t have to. I can continue to swim with the pigeons, see lido dog (his owner is partially sighted and a fantastic swimmer) and swim with the sunrise (except in summer).
There are a few additional useful points to add to this, and that is the changes in equipment.
I mentioned the thin swimsuit, well here it is, Speedo. It is basic, it looks good, there is minimal support which is not great if you are top heavy, but it keeps you cooler.
I have reviewed this before, and I am still raving about it. It is my trusty MP3 player. For months it sat in a cupboard while I was indoor swimming and after a quick charge it was working with not glitches again. It is comfortable and the music quality is good. The below is a slightly variation to what I use.
I have had a slightly problem with the goggles though. I normally use the Speedo IQ Womens goggles, but the strap always comes loose, so I tried the following:
They are not as comfortable, they rub on the nose for me, and there is little flexbility so they do not stick to the face sufficiently. They are not as bad as some I have used by any means, but they are not the best either. The price is very good though.
In my mind Speedo goggles have not been as good as they could be. I love Speedo but the goggles often let the kit down. Considering I used to be one of Speedo’s testers, it is a shame they can’t improve the visual aids more, but hopefully that is on the horizon.
No doubt there will be new kit for review come the winter months, especially when the next SwimFor is due to take place.
In the meantime the following have proved to be fantastic for those budding toddler swimmers: