Friday, 18 July 2014

Neighbourhood Swim

The Kennedy Town Swimming Pool has a scenic view of the area
Yesterday I finished work early and decided to check out the Kennedy Town Pool -- over two years after I moved into the area!

It's a relatively new pool, built in May 2011, as the other one was demolished to make way for the West Island MTR Line that -- crossed fingers -- will open at the end of the year.

However I was not very organized when I arrived at the changing room to use the locker. At the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool, there is the option of using your own lock or insert a HK$5 coin to use the key lock provided.

But here there was no such opportunity to do the former and not having enough change, I had to go all the way back downstairs, ask for change from a HK$100 bill for a HK$5 coin and then finally be able to lock a locker.

After I had changed, I wasn't clear on how to get to the pool and started walking down stairs and the attendant told me to go back up and turn right. Obviously I'm not reading signs closely!

By the time I start swimming in the pool it was almost 6.45pm and thankfully it wasn't too busy. The far right lanes are reserved for a swimming group, then two lanes for lap swimming and then rest are a free for all.

Visitors can use their Octopus card to pay for pool admission
I started out swimming in the free pool area and I'm constantly dodging people, some who swim OK, and others practically dog paddling. The Olympic-sized pool is 50 metres long and I'm not used to swimming such a long length. By the time I get to the other side I need to take a mini break before going back.

Then I switched to the lap lane and it was better, though there was one guy who was a slow breast-stroker and didn't understand he had to yield to others who are faster than him.

Others had to pass him, which was tricky with oncoming traffic to deal with as well. I also find that Chinese men can't stand having a woman, especially a Chinese one, swim faster than them and try not to let the fairer sex pass them...

It is one of the few times I have swum outside and I could see the clouds above us and the sun setting behind them. Then after a while the clouds gathered more densely and began to darken.

Though there was a thunderstorm warning, none of the lifeguards told us to leave. Soon it started to rain, around 7.10pm or so, but I wanted to swim a few more laps.

The water was so warm in the pool that it was nice to have the rain to cool things down a bit.

I watched a family with a daughter about 15 years old who wore glasses and floaties on her arms... did she really think those small inflatable things would keep her afloat? And why not wear goggles? The father wore his glasses too.

And then there was a young kid in my lane who tried to do freestyle -- without breathing. He would take a big gulp then move his arms like a windmill for six or seven strokes and then stop and stand up. He obviously had not been taught how to breathe while swimming...

I've also heard of some stories of people -- mostly men -- coming up to women and trying to give them swimming pointers. A friend's boyfriend did this to me at the Sun Yat Set Memorial Park Pool, giving totally unsolicited advice. He really expected me to follow his instructions. Again that big male ego just won't go away...

Many people started leaving as it started to rain, so by the time I left the pool at 7.30pm, my lane was empty whereas before there were four or five people.

I went back in to take a shower, and when I came out I heard a huge BOOM! And then realized it was thunder.

Soon afterwards other people started entering the changing room area which meant everyone was told to leave the pool.

By the time I finished, it was pouring rain -- and T3.

The pool is not bad as long as it's not too busy so we'll see when I'll go again next time.

Kennedy Town Swimming Pool
2 Sai Cheung Street North
Kennedy Town
2817 7973
HK$17 on weekdays, HK$19 on weekends and public holidays

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