Poolside in Oz

Today, January 26, is Australia Day, which could also be called Invasion Day. On this day, Aussies celebrate all things Australian, and this normally involves gatherings of family and friends, barbecues, drinking, good times, drunken games of cricket, and culminates with watching the fireworks.

I think it’s an excellent day to celebrate something Australia does very well: swimming pools. I don’t mean those backyard ones, above and below ground, of which nearly every second house has, but the 50-metre, Olympic standard pools which are abundant. My favourite is HBF Stadium in Perth (though it will always be Perry Lakes to me). Here, there are three – yes, three!! – 50-metre pools, one indoor and two outdoor, with one outdoor pool having 10 lanes.

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Lap-swimming heaven at HBF Stadium, Perth

Take note of the following:
– There are proper lanes, ten of them, all set by speed (fast, medium, slow), and swimmers ensure they are in the correct lane
– There are proper lane ropes that absorb waves and splash (look at how still the water is)
– The starting blocks are covered to prevent idiots from jumping in
– There are flags strung across at both ends so you know where you are when swimming backstroke
– The swimmers are spread out, with no more than two to a lane
– There are kickboards, pullbuoys, flippers and paddles available for use

It’s no wonder that Australia has produced so many world-class swimmers over the years. This is what we grow up with. The photo above was taken at 6pm on a Monday.