When you spend a lot of time submerged in water most mornings you tend to pick up on a lot of things that the general public perhaps would overlook at Pools and aquatic complexes.
It might be sad to say, but when i travel somewhere I will tend to associate the benefit of the trip or overall feeling from it on terms of how nice the pool was. I'll remember fine details from the pool along with the obvious like it feels like my skin is burning chlorine levels.
Perhaps my greatest pool experience would have been at the '92 Olympic Pool (outdoor 50m) in Barcelona. Perched on top of a park that overlooks the city, it was a scorching day. After walking around the city sweating through my shorts I could not wait to dive in. The pool had this amazing feel of bubbliness and an airy/light water texture. Absolutley beautiful.
92 Games Pool
Another one that ranks right up there is the Parc Jean-Drapeau pool in Monteral. Stevo and I swam here in 2007 after Drummondville. The pool (outdoor 50m) is set within the confines of a castle looking building. We had a mission to get to this pool and although it took 2hrs travel one-way from Stevo's relatives it was well worth it.
I cannot talk about pools without mentioning the pool I grew up swimming in. The Queen Elizabeth Pool was concrete with gutters that could suck a 3 year old away. The beauty of the pool was its aspect. It gave you full view of the Begbie glacier while doing backstroke; never my favourite stroke, but it seemed to be when i swam there.
This subject of Pools came to mind after todays swim at Crystal with Austin and Brent. Previously when I swam periodically at Crystal I never took a liking to it. However as i began to swim more regulary at it, I found myself more and more becoming accustomed to its odd/irregularities that make it unlike any other.
- For 20 meters the pool is quite shallow (2-3 feet), it is just deep enough for your hand not to touch except perhaps if your Rick Say with big paddles on. This shallowness is helpfull for dolphin diving practice and if your just to lazy to kick that last 10m. As well during a hard set I find it comforting to be able to stand (or hunch over) gasping instead of tensley holding onto the wall waiting.
- The Pool has no flags, so you have to develop a sense of where you are on Backstroke upon landmarks on the roof....ok there is that glass dome beginning to end it should be time to flip over....uh waaaaaay too early.
- At the deep end wall there are underwater viewing windows that look in from a sunken carbio room. Often this spring I'd be about to flip turn and see Phil, hands cupped up to the glass peering in to look at technique. With my ghostly white winter complexion it made me feel like a beluga whale at the aquarium.
- The temperature of the pool is warm. I used to find it hot but have since acclimitized. The pools boiler dates back to the early 1900's when crystal pool used to be located at what is now Crystal gardens. Old boy is still pumping out at a good tick.
- Washrooms not so fond of. Keep telling myself to get sandles or I'll pick up a case of foot and mouth disease. They do have good hot showers though i'll give them that.
- Perhaps the most note worthy topic of the pool is the dedicated aquafitters. Our pool time is from 7:30-9:00. At 9:00 Aqua fit starts, which means the process of moving lanes from 50m to 25m happens between 8:50-9:00. Usually we aren't in the water till 7:35ish and this sometimes cuts things close with 5k on the board. You can usually still swim from 8:55-9 but you have to have your head up. We are talking Scott Stevens head up as aquafitter and random floaters will undoubtedly be crossing your path. This morning at 8:45 we had 1100 to go. 5x200 Pull on 3' and 100ez.
"3' eh rick, we wont make it"
"ok, make er 2:45"
Off we go, things look good. The ropes are coming out, but slowly, we should make it. We start the last 200 and time it perfectly as during the last 50 the usual guy is starting to bring across the get the #*@# out rope. As I touch I look up at the digi clock to see 8:59:57...awesome. I look back 2 seconds later to see brent T-Bone with a random backstroker crossing paths 2meters from the wall. Ironically this collision took place at exactly 9:00:00!!! Brent had paddles on though so it was the other guy i'd be more concerned over.
With these characteristics I do enjoy swimming at Crystal Pool and actually after being away from Victoria for even a couple days I anticipate a swim there. It is calming, soothing and sure to be eventful!
The Pool is however on its last hinges and I hear it will be replaced by a new facility within the next 5 years. You will be missed Crystal.