I have been researching where to swim during Brisbane Winter in the inner city areas, to enable me to swim year-round. My oncologist has recommended swimming as an alternative to walking, to reduce joint pain caused by my ongoing medication. The pool at home is not heated, so not venturing into there at present, so I headed off to investigate.
With my joint pain I need to be able to get in and out of the pool easily…….so my positives and negatives below on the pools I visited revolve not only around facilities, actual pool and parking but also ease of access for me. This would be important for anyone with injury, or health issues, older in age or even shorter, or with children.
Option 1 – The Valley Pool
Address: 432 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley
Parking: Metered street parking (if able to even find), or I used a small carpark in Bridge Street which is $5.00 per hour
Open times: Weekdays 5.15am to 7pm plus weekends (see website for full details)
Quiet times: 8-11am and 1-3pm
Entry fee: $5.40 per entry plus $2.00 if using lockers (I used first visit but not really needed)
Facilities: Large change area, with individual change cubicles, showers and toilets. Grandstand seating, pool loungers, steps cut into side of pool and metal ladder – both ends of pool.
Pool details: Half of the lanes are 25m lengths and half are 50m lengths, outdoor, heated, 2m depth (so not graduation). Two lanes normally allocated to being ‘slow’.
Positives: Friendly staff, free kick board available and a weights belt if needed, clean warm pool, lane 1 has a ledge along it for catching breath, good change area.
Negatives: If not in lane 1 and need to have a rest, you have to tread water, due to 2m consistent depth. Plus, for me with bad knee pain and low upper body strength, I struggled to pull myself out of the pool with the metal ladder. I had an embarrassing episode on first visit whn I fell back onto my butt as I tried to get out of the pool. The next visit I rested longer then sat on the pool edge before swinging my legs around, rolled onto my knees and pushed up – very graceful yes.
Option 2 – Spring Hill Baths
Address: 14 Torrington St, Spring Hill – opposite St Andrews Hospital
Parking: Metered street parking – this could be a challenge at busy times
Open times: Week days from 6.30am – 6/7pm plus week-ends (see website for full details)
Quiet times: Fridays apparently are always quiet
Entry fee: $5.40 per entry
Facilities: Individual retro bath house style change rooms in bright colours and numbered – with male and female on opposite sides, showers and toilets. Grandstand seating, plastic chairs, metal ladders – both ends of pool.
Pool details: Heated, 25m length, depths range from .9m to 1.9m, half covered and half open to sunlight.
Positives: Relaxing to float along looking up through the impressive roofline. Able to use kick boards, pool noodles. I liked the quirky old world charm, as built in 1886 and is heritage listed – was nice and quiet. Could swim in any lanes as so quiet.
Negatives: Has kind of a messy feel. The public use items are not neat, and there were water puddles laying around. In the shallow end I could pull myself up onto the side of the pool, however sat in water puddles, and then had to try and twist onto my knees and push up. The age of the pool means rough concrete, so knees were scraped. Didn’t feel as warm as some of the other pools.
Option 3 – Centenary Aquatic Centre and Health Club
Address: 400 Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill
Parking: Plenty of 2 hour free parks around the area
Open times: Mon-Thurs: 5am-8pm, Fri: 5am-6pm, Sat-Sun: 7am-6pm, P/H: 9am-5pm
Quiet times: 9am to 11am or then after 2pm – before or after squad training
Entry fee: $5.40 per entry
Facilities: Variety of pool options, grandstand seating, pool loungers, metal ladder and steps at 25m mark, fitness centre attached
Pool details: Four pools at this Centre. One large lap pool, outside, heated to 28 degrees, 50m length. Lane 1 is dedicated to ‘slow’. Depth is graduated from approximately 1m to 2m and has a fabulous long graduated ramp into this lane 1. There is an enclosed heated pool to 35 degrees – used for learn to swim and rehab as has steps into pool and tables under the water for stability. There is also a round wading pool and enclosed 5-metre-deep diving pool with diving boards and high diving platforms.
Positives: The graduated ramp into the pool is perfect for entry and exit of the pool. Also the free parking is a positive. Lots of different staff.
Negatives: Did not have kick boards for public use. Change areas do not have individual cubicles, just a large change area, showers and toilets.
So until I had checked out the Centenary Aquatic Centre and Health Club I was thinking the Valley Pool was my preference, however now having used the ramp at Centenary I feel this is best for my needs. I can get into and then get out of the pool without any embarrassment and with ease…..I can steadily walk out of the pool, while my shaking legs get strength again. Now to get into a routine and attend regularly. Do you have a favourite pool?