By KAOSVIC - ocean swimmer by preference, pool swimmer by necessity
My local pool opened up today after a month off for a facelift. More accurately it had a bottom lift.
It got a shiny new bottom, some new tiles and that's about it. It's still the same daggy pool it's been since it opened in 1964.
I've been a regular at Prahran pool since before I could swim. There were no lanes in those days. Just a heap of kids hanging around the shallow end til we got brave, or daring, enough, to tackle the deep end.
The scary pool guard, was his name Ernie?' would keep us under control, much like puppies, with not much more than his voice and a loud whistle. If he noticed you, he made you swim back to the shallow end to prove that you could actually swim before you were allowed to stay up the deep end with the cool kids.
My all-girls school used to take us there for swimming training early in the school year. Although it was probably February and March, the water always seemed to be freezing. And the communal showers were too unless you had the money to pay for a short spurt of hot water.
I never made the swimming team, but have had many happy hours at this pool over the past 40 years.
It's nothing fancy, and not much had changed. It doesn't have yoga, pilates, or child minding.
It does have a cool cafe, good coffee, a spa, and a Massage lady, Joy, who really knows how to help tired swimmers shoulders.
The pool always used to close in April and re open in October. A few years ago the local Council found the funds to keep it opened reduced hours all year round.
It's now 5.50 am to 9.30 am and 4.30 to 7.30 Monday to Friday and 8 til 10.30 am on weekends.
Just enough hours for the squads, the kids and the desperates.
You have to be pretty keen to get into a 50 m outdoor pool every Saturday morning and Monday morning all year round. The wind blows through wet bodies and although the water is a cozy 28 degrees, the air is single digit.
I often wonder if I'd be a better swimmer if I could get up earlier, but I know I can't commit to more.
I do know, whatever the weather, I always feel better for the effort.
I've done thousands of hours and thousands of kms at Prahran over the years. If the weather permits, it's pretty fine to hit the roof top banana lounges with a novel for some post swim recovery.
I taught myself to swim in the bay, I'm a proud and passionate ocean swimmer and I'd rather be in the ocean than the pool any day. But summer is short and winter endless in Melbourne. Thank goodness there is a compromise.
I'll never warm to the chlorine fug of the indoor pools.
But you'll find me year round with swimmers of all shapes and sizes lapping up and down at Prahran.
I hope little nip and tuck will keep Prahran in workable condition for many years. It's my pool and I love it.