Swim school growth squeezes all at pool

A big blue: Hurstville Aquatic Centre pool is operating above maximum capacity at peak hours according to some patrons.
A big blue: Hurstville Aquatic Centre pool is operating above maximum capacity at peak hours according to some patrons.

I’ve always loved swimming - despite the initial fear of water. The smoothness of the stroke, the toughness of training, the power behind each pull and the feeling of sweet triumph after completing a set. 

Hell, at some point, even the early wake up calls. I spent years and years homing in on my passion for swimming – until last year. My second home has become a dump, belittling my passion and corrupting my chlorinated waters.

The idea behind Bluefit’s motive to expand the swim school is that more swimmer’s results with more money. 

Now, how could they fit in more swimmers you ask? The solution? Make lane dividers, splitting the previous four lanes into five. Problem solved right? Little did they know; the impacts expand far greater than just ‘more profit’. 

The problem starts with the operation of the pool above maximum capacity and what it tells us about the management.

They value profit over the wellbeing of its consumers. In their eyes, everything is alright. Any issues are redirected and slowly sunk, forgotten and never to be remembered.

At ends of the walls, swimmers struggle to hone their technique with the constant worry of ‘is there someone else approaching?’ or getting hit in the head in the restricting width of the pool lanes.

Their emphasis on profit has resulted in poor facilities and is unfair to the hard-working athletes who put their mind, body and soul into this sport. This is not okay at all. 

When I watch the younger squads some days, I laugh at the sight. It’s a joke really. Cramming 12 swimmers into a 25m pool, calling it ‘squads’ when half of them are walking while waiting for others to move further ahead. 

If you’re reading this thinking ‘Stop complaining, you’re making a bigger deal out of it’, I ask you this: Has there ever been anything in your life that’s let you down? This something can be miniscule. So small you have probably never given it a second thought. Perhaps someone spitting on the sidewalk on your street.  

Your answer is going to be a yes. So, imagine your miniscule problem blown up, becoming the thing you hold dearest to you. Every time you pass by. No, the freedom has been tangled up. No, the joy has been saturated with swimmers. No, the vision for a future has been lost in the murky waters. 

The pool is not the sun filled space you see on their website or brochure. Instead you see a pool, filled with too many people.

It is a disgrace seeing the lack of attention taken when it comes to hygiene. The floor is painted with shades of brown with tufts of hair stuck in drainage pipes. This material is eventually brought into the pool from people walking around. Normally, minute traces of dirt and grime are fine.

However, we are talking about Hurstville Aquatic Centre here. A place crowded with people. Given the pool is cleaned overnight, the added number of swimmers throughout the day contributes to the grime and foreign matter in the pool. 

The lack of cleaning has resulted in murky and cloudy water in the later hours. Particles resembling the look of tumbleweeds form at the bottom of the pool, clearly displayed to each swimmer. A clear reminder of the clean and crisp water they’re swimming in. 

Nowadays, it seems as if they’ve transformed the pool into a money gurgling machine. Fitting the maximum number of consumers into the pool like sardines. 

Until these fundamental issues are addressed, can we still see the local pool as a family friendly environment?

Ricky Zheng, Penshurst