Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre
All signs are looking promising. Following a couple of challenging months tolerating single digit temperatures, this weekend proved – the hardest days are now behind us. Sydney’s perma-summer is almost here.
After 6 weeks of indoor pools a blue sky and early morning fog was all my enthusiasm needed. Readers, it’s time to take the swimming outdoors again.
Like driving in a convertible versus a station wagon, or eating butter over margarine, swimming outdoors is just 200 per cent more satisfying. With my taste for authenticity it was definitely time to leave the Eastern Suburbs.
Leichhardt Pool is like catching up with an old school friend you haven’t seen in 20 years. It just feels genuine. While not strictly in Leichhardt (okay slight demerit points for authenticity), this old school friend of yours might now be in her mid 50s but she’s showing no sign of retirement.
Opened in 1960 Leichhardt Pool has been a busy part of the community for decades and she’s stayed true to her attractive vintage heritage.
She’s got style, with welcoming blue and white tiling, she’s warm (an enticing 26 degrees), and has a lovely azure bottom. This makes her beloved by Inner West families, retirees and pesky myna birds (see below).
In fact this old girl is constantly changing with the times and like a true Inner West resident sustainability is top of mind with a recent upgrade of her pipes, switching to a more energy efficient heat pump.
The aquatic centre has a large set up; the standard Olympic size pool, dive pool, kitchy three level dive board, kids pool, kids play area (dried up for winter) and an array of gym classes (Zumba anyone?). I was less interested in the aqua-aerobics and more interested in the unique swim lane set up.
Leichhardt boasts a double lane – or what I have dubbed the ‘autobahn of pool lanes.’ With no speed limit or set boundaries for overtaking it’s a free for all of freestylers, floaties and the occasional snorkeler.
After one overtake too many I retreated back to the security and structure of a single lane. When it comes to swimming pools, I’m a conformist at heart.
High points: Free security lockers. Although mine did malfunction. Being the Inner West it’s also great for plane spotters.
Low points: This place is routinely patrolled by greedy Indian myna birds who patrol the café tables stealing chips and sandwiches. Vigilance is required at all times.
Cost of entry: $7.50 per adult
Attire: perma-tans in Winter and a water gun to take on the myna birds.
Best for: Inner West families, retirees and Autobahn fans.
Overall score: 8.0