After years of saying “I’m a horrible swimmer,” I’ve been working for the past month to change that. The Athabasca Landing Pool is the vehicle for my journey.
Here’s my diary from the past week.
Monday, July 23.
I scoot out of work at 4:45 p.m. to make the 5-6 p.m. lane swim time.
One toilet is constantly running in the women’s change room. The door doesn’t lock on another.
Nevertheless, the pool is lovely this evening. I have my own lane so I can work on flutterboard stuff – which I hate, but it does improve my kick.
At 5:50 p.m. things start to close down, so I get out and go home. Summer hours.
Wednesday, July 25.
After work, I head up to the pool.
There are two fire trucks and a few employees in the parking lot, and someone who tells me that the building has been evacuated due to mechanical failure. But I can come back tomorrow.
Thursday, July 26.
I take off on lunch break, as that is the only hour dedicated to lane swimming today.
I end up in the toilet stall with the door that doesn’t lock again.
The pool is packed. There are at least 15 kids doing lessons in one half of the pool, while the other half is divided into two lanes. The schedule says it’s supposed to be three, but it also says at the top “Schedule subject to change without notice.”
Today, there are five swimmers sharing those two lanes. While bumping around between the much-faster people and the plastic rope thing, I notice the bundles of hair floating like tumbleweeds in the deep end.
Despite the tight quarters, I go back to work with the positive reinforcement of my fellow freestylers.
And so, after my limited time in the pool, I have a couple of takeaways.
First: We have a lot of good, friendly swimmers in this community who really do use these facilities well (I want to give a big thank you especially to local dolphin Bruce Jackson, for his tips on breathing and how to hold my head). I’m thankful the pool exists for the health and community benefits, and I really look forward to using the new one. Based on the usage I’ve seen, I hope the new pool has longer hours, and some more time dedicated to adults and lane swimming.
Second: Our facilities need care. Over the past year, I’ve written about the Nancy Appleby Theatre, with its burned out light bulbs and broken toilets. The pool really does show its age, too, but not all of its issues are age-related. Some of these items — like a lock on a bathroom stall — are just general maintenance.
If we want something to last, we have to take care of it. We can extend the lifetimes of our shared community resources by doing so.