When I was searching for places to swim before visiting Sydney there was one thing that was immediately clear. There is no shortage of pools to choose from. Indoor, outdoor, tidal pools, you name it, Sydney has it.
Thanks to some yucky weather on Boxing Day I figured that the underground pool at the Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic Center would be my best bet on Boxing Day. The weather improved a bit around New Year’s, so it was time to scope out some outdoor pools.
Wylie’s Baths at Coogee Beach
The lovely Melanie suggested Wylie’s Baths as a good place to swim, and it was definitely a great idea. I stopped in on the final day of 2009 for a quick swim. Wylie’s Baths is a 50 yard tidal pool, costs $3 for admission and it is open 365 days a year. Their website is great and posts up to date times for low and high tide and swimming conditions.
Swimming at Wylie’s gives you the best of both worlds between a pool and the ocean. You are more protected than swimming in the ocean, but the bottom of the pool is essentially the ocean floor. It is uneven, rocky, and full of plant life and wee little fishes.
I spent some time analysing the situation – who was swimming versus who was playing around, what direction were they going – then slipped in the water. I’d be lying if I didn’t have a moment where I thought, “Wow, I kinda wish I had a wetsuit…” Luckily that idea lasted about five seconds because the water was really warm. I was reminded that I cannot swim in a straight line without lines on the bottom so I wound up criss-crossing a bunch. And I tell you what, you definitely notice if you are ingesting water when you swim in salt water…
Bondi Icebergs Club Swimming Pool
When I first saw the Bondi Icebergs Club website I knew I needed to swim here. A 50m outdoor swimming pool right at the world famous Bondi Beach? Fantastic. Admission is $5 and is open to the public. If you want to get into the club itself you need to have a membership if you live within a 5 km radius, or else you can enter as a temporary member. The pool is closed every Thursday for cleaning. The pool was amazing and I definitely appreciated having lines painted on the bottom of this pool. And I love that you never really feel crowded in a 50m pool, even if you have six people in your lane.
I first stopped in to swim on New Year’s Day. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, apparently there is a big, super exclusive bash at the club every year. Music was blaring out of the top level club and I loved swimming along and popping up to hear the tunes every once in awhile. I went back again on Saturday the 2nd and it was a lot quieter, so this was definitely an unusual experience.
And yes, I loved the pool so much that I went back for a second swim the next day…making for three days in a row of swimming. Talk about a way to say goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010! The swim was even better on day three as I finally figured out how to drink less salt water on the swim. It started to rain just as I was finishing up my set though, so I quickly ran out of the pool, moved my stuff under cover, then hopped back in the water to keep swimming. After all, water is water whether it is pool water or rain water, right?
My dad even took some video of me swimming that I want to pass along to my coach. It is the first time I’ve ever had a chance to see what I look like swimming and it is quite an eye opener. What my left arm does compared to my right arm is pretty astounding.
Other places I looked at but didn’t have a chance to swim at? The North Sydney Olympic Pool near Luna Park and the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool inside the Botanical Gardens. So many pools, so little time…