Revisit your local pool, re-awaken the senses, and discover some of the characters for yourself.
I was very recently reminded of the joy of swimming at public pools and suddenly I missed, almost craved, that simple joy of momentarily being in the physically altered state as one’s body worked to manoeuvre itself in a really big body of water.
I remembered the feeling of being able to dive down the deepest end of the pool and touch the bottom tiles for the first time.
I remembered turning an underwater somersault, bomb-diving your friends, lying on the hot concrete to dry off in the sun and then the cold temperature change as you plunged back in, the lingering smell of chlorine on your skin and wrinkled fingertips.
So I have entered a personal quest to find my inner child this summer starting with a dip at the local pool. Did I find a little bit of my inner child already? Well, I managed an underwater somersault, so that’s a start!
Some of Brisbane’s favourite pools to check out
400 Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill
With its Thunderbird-esque architectural curves, Centenary Pool has owned its own place on Gregory Terrace since 1959, and thankfully retains many if its original features. But the star of this aquatic show is the diving tower and diving pool.
Spring Hill Baths
14 Torrington Street, Spring Hill
Built in 1886 — yes, 1886 — the Baths feature Brisbane’s first in-ground pool. In this age of water conservation, it is hard to believe the 25m pool was once filled and drained daily. There’s 53 individual change rooms surrounding the pool, which has recently been restored.
131 Caxton Street, Paddington
Located opposite Suncorp Stadium in Paddington. Within my family this pool holds some reverence as it is where my husband, his father and grandfather all swam as kids. The pool has been lengthened to 25m and there is a cleverly designed and shaded ‘learn to swim’ area.
Or try any one of these 17 other council pools in Brisbane
Acacia Ridge Leisure Centre (1391 Beaudesert Road, Acacia Ridge)
Bellbowrie Pool (47 Birkin Road, Bellbowrie)
Carole Park Pool (Cnr Boundary Road and Waterford Road, Wacol)
Chermside Pool (375 Hamilton Road, Chermside)
Colmslie Pool (400 Lytton Road, Morningside)
Dunlop Park Memorial Pool (794 Oxley Road, Corinda)
Hibiscus Sports Complex (90 Klumpp Road, Upper Mt Gravatt)
Jindalee Pool (11 Yallambee Road, Jindalee)
Langlands Park Memorial Pool (5 Panitya Street, Stones Corner)
Manly Pool (1 Fairlead Crescent, Manly)
Mt Gravatt East Aquatic Centre (Cnr Wecker Road & Newnham Road, Mansfield)
Musgrave Park Pool (100 Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane)
Newmarket Pool (71 Alderson Street, Newmarket)
Runcorn Pool (37 Bonemill Road, Runcorn)
Sandgate Aquatic Centre (231 Flinders Parade, Sandgate)
Valley Pool (432 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley)
Yeronga Park Memorial Pool (81 School Road, Yeronga)
Some of the pool characters to spot
See if you recall some of these characters of the pool. Apologies if you are one!
The floral head brigade
The original swimming caps were made of thick rubber and were akin to pulling a pair of rubber thongs over your head. To allow for a generation of women that didn’t want to get their hair wet, stylish, colourful swim caps included flowers – the bigger the better!
Keep alert, because while lazing in the water, you may encounter a lapper! Those freestyle flailing arms can be lethal, not to mention the damage done by a good kick.
We’re talking about the inflatable kind of floaties here — pillows on arms, ducks around the waist or the floating mattress into a crowded pool. They are just asking for a dunking.
You could spot the bad swimmers a mile away. They lower themselves down the ladder, bravely slide in and dog paddle as quickly as possible to the edge and there they remain. If they move, it is by sliding along the edge, one hand always gripping the rail.
It is a rite of passage… you are no one at the pool until someone (usually an overweight kid who displaces half the pool in body weight) bombs right next to you, not only dunking you, but ensuring you swallow the remaining pool water.
How long did you hold for when you tried it? I’m surprised the local pool doesn’t have a chalk board with the local record holder’s name and time on it!
Which pool do you think is Brisbane’s best? Let us know below!
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