Summer is here and that means swimming, swimming, swimming. Of course, I was swimming throughout winter – what Hard Core Pool Conquering Tragic wouldn’t be? – but now all the hibernating pools are open again. And the ocean’s well and truly warming up. (And if you think I should be swimming in the ocean all year round, then no, I’m not that Hard Core.)
The pool above is Prince Alfred Park, Sydney (location here)
#376 – Newcastle University, NSW
My darling wife is from this area (Detroit on the Hunter, as a mate used to call it) so I’ve been visiting earnestly for over 20 years now, but for some reason this fabulous facility has eluded me. It’s about as state of the art as anything in Newcastle could hope to be. Sorry. That sounded harsh. It’s a wonderful pool. The Dutch swimming team used it as their base during the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Almost no one there the day our clan descended. (Click the image to see it in its full majesty.)
#377 – Kiama ocean pool north
The small beachside town of Kiama has two ocean pools and an indoor 25m (which I swam many, many years ago). The town is beautiful; the pools too. I had this one to myself and it was brisk, being early September. Not that I’m complaining, of course.
Great modern change rooms too, a beautifully kept lawn and behind, a nice little cafe with a superb view of the harbour.
The day I swam here was the day we switched Prime Ministers (yet again).
#378 – McKeon, Unanderra, NSW
Nice little 25m indoor number right next to the freeway in a suburb of Wollongong you most likely have no business visiting. It’s hardly South Bronx, but not entirely charming either.
I’ve driven past this place countless times, thinking ‘I’ll have you one winter!’ But as it turned out, a quick check of the iphone 4S told me I had time to slot in another K before heading back to Sydney.
Yes, two pools conquered in one day (the other being Kiama, above). Did it feel good? Yes. Yes, it did.
#379 – Woongoolba, QLD
One of the charms of The Quest is it takes you places you would never go otherwise. Such was today. Still can’t pronounce the name of this place. Even the lifeguard had problems with it. Mind you, I can’t imagine what she thought when I rocked up and said, ‘So, where am I again?’
It’s a tiny, tiny ‘town’ south east of Brisbane surrounded by cane fields. On a recent holiday to Surfers Paradise, my long-suffering wife and I drove waaaaay off the beaten track to conquer this pool.
Of course, there was no one there. Just me. Lynne slept on the grass.
#380 – Mantra Legends Hotel, Surfers Paradise, Qld
Pool #2 of Lynne and my recent holiday (sans kids) to the beautiful Gold Coast. The hotel pool. I don’t normally conquer them, but Lynne asked, ‘Why not?’ So, I did. Sometimes, it really is that simple.
The blue tinge was a nice effect, turning the session into a bizarre aquatic disco for 2. Yes, Lynne and I had the pool to ourselves and while I blitzed up and down (as is my style) my darling wife drifted, repeatedly, into my path. She thought it hilarious.
#381 – Kingscliffe, NSW
Very pleasant little pool, high on a hill looking north (across the border) to the Gold Coast. Long chat afterwards with the lifeguard about The Quest (he was yet another swept up by the vision of the whole thing) and about swimming in Darwin (which I’ve not done yet. It remains the sole unconquered Australian state to my chagrin.)
Lynne joined me for some laps wearing her new prescription goggles (yes, they have such a thing don’t you know) and then we headed for the airport and south, back to Sydney, our brief holiday over. But there are plenty more pools in Queensland left to conquer.
Reconquered pool – Prince Alfred Park
A new section for you to enjoy.
It struck me that, as The Quest began over 20 years ago, I have no photographic record of many, many pools I’ve swum. This is close to a tragedy. I know you trust me and would never for a moment doubt I’ve swum the requisite distance in each, but as I revisit these ‘old friends’ I thought I’d post a few shots, so you can see some more of the wondrous pools we have in Sydney.
This place was renovated while I was in New York. They have done a superb job. It sits in the park next to Central Station, in the undulating grassy hills. You barely even notice it’s fenced. Glorious.
#382 – Warilla, NSW
Meet Simon. He’s my new (albeit, one time only) swimming buddy. He hails from Yorkshire in the UK (which, spookily, one half of my family hail from too). He moved here this year and very wisely discovered the joy of swimming in our ocean pools. He intends to conquer all 60-odd ocean pools in NSW.
You might think he is my enemy. A johnny-come-lately pool-conquering-wannabe out to cut my grass, or splash in my lane, or whatever the aquatic expression might be. But, no. Simon’s a great fellow and has no ambition to give up his day job so he can swim past me and take that glorious crown of 1000 pools.
He’s ‘a little thin on top’, he has his own website and, naturally enough, he’s expanded his pool swimming beyond ocean pools (just as I did, 20 years ago – the similarities are increasingly spooky). Hence, we met up one 35 degree day at Warilla, which was a new pool scalp on his Speedos too. And actually, with regards to the Speedos, that’s where the similarities end, for he proudly wears the short little Speedos, which I gave up years ago in the interests of propriety. Simon’s been interviewed by ABC Wollongong with regards to his pool conquering.
I, on the other hand, have been ignored by all media to date.
Here is Simon’s wonderful site: OceanPoolsNSW
P.S. With this pool, I hit my annual target of 24 new pools. I feel though, this won’t be the end for 2015