So I took my first ‘splash’ at the leisure centre the other week in many many months. I wasnt sure how it would work when I got there other than that I needed to wear my costume underneath my clothes and take my snazzy lime green hat just because you know it looks snazzy.
Once at the leisure centre I wore my mask although it clearly wasn’t obligatory as not everyone did. We were all pointed to the one way arrows which directed us to the ladies changing area (so everyone including men go through here). They had cordoned off a group changing area for men and a separate one for women within the ladies changing room by clearly hanging signs up on the wall. It did amuse me that there was a gent in the ladies bit and a woman in the gents bit, clearly people didnt read the nice little bits of paper cellotaped to the wall. I already had my costume on so simply stripped down and threw my stuff in my bag. You then went through to the pool with your bag as the lockers are all sealed off with those criss cross yellow tapes that make it look like someone got murdered in the lockers.
The swimming pool itself was split into just 3 lanes. Two wide ones labelled slow and medium and a narrower one in the middle labelled fast. I had already signed up to my swim online by using the booking appointment system and noted that two of the lanes would take 7 people maximum and the third lane just 4. I aimed for the middle lane and set off initially on my own as nearly everyone headed for ‘medium’. They should perhaps ask people to sign up to slow/medium/fast whilst booking so they can take this into account as to my mind there were too many people in the medium section.
Once you’ve finished your swim you collect your bag from the side of the pool and follow the one way signs through the men’s changing room. Again this has a group area for ladies and gents within it and there are also some individual changing rooms. There are no showers again more yellow tape, clearly it was a serial killer who liked taking out people in the shower and shovelling them in lockers.
So you dry off, dress and leg it out of there. It was seemingly the quickest swim session I’ve done as it all seemed pretty efficient with no opportunity to faff with shampoo or particular need to go searching for that old hairbrush at the bottom of your bag thats been there forever.
Outdoor swimming by comparison is easier again in some ways, trickier in others. I love outdoor swimming and this was opened up sooner than pool swimming in the last month or two. Again for outdoor swimming there are no changing facilities or showers. Arriving in your costume you stand wobbling on one leg trying to don your wetsuit in a car park or by the quay or lake depending on where you are (dont try one legged action whilst standing on the end of a pier though). After the swim is done the ‘tricky’ bit begins. Trying to dry off and get dressed without flashing everyone, which reminded me of getting changed on the beach where you end up holding the towel in a circle around yourself and trying to put your bra on unsuccessfully and end up strangling yourself with it instead. In the end I gave up on that and just threw a T-shirt on. I’m not Houdini.