Sydney’s best indoor swimming pool guide

Presently Down Under we are in the final stretches of a cruel long Winter. Here in Sydney we have endured single temperature mornings for at least six weeks now, appropriate clothing has actually become a ‘thing’, and I haven’t spotted a bare midriff in at least 2 months. Apparently things haven’t been this desperate since Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister.

While the end is almost in sight outdoor swimming is currently as appealing as dying your underarm hair (yes, that’s a thing). Sooo, for Sydneysiders looking to reminisce with the water, here’s my ‘best of guide’ to Sydney’s indoor swimming pools.

Embracing its curves

Embracing its curves, Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre

Best for inspiration – Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, Ultimo, Sydney

Designed by Australia’s (arguably) best architect together with the country’s greatest swimmer. This pool is a bit like an Olympic love child, with a swimming school to prove it.

Perched on the edge of tourist-tastic Darling Harbour the swimming complex rises like a collection of white paper clips on the edge of Ultimo. Sadly, architect Harry Seidler died a year before it opened so he never got to see all its greatness. Like the wave shaped roof that reflects the swimming lanes from above. It rises to its highest point over the 50 metre pool giving it a light and airy feel you so often don’t get with indoor swimming pools. It’s glorious. The impressive terrace view of the nearby skyline also rates a mention.

Read the full review

Cost: $7 entry, slap on another $7 if you want to use the steam room and sauna

No synchronisng on a Sunday

No synchronizing on a Sunday, Annette Kellerman, Marrickville

Best for food options – Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre, Marrickville

Annette is a perfectly cozy local pool, situated in Enmore park, surrounded by a giant rocket ship park and an array of very good local cafes.

The pool is named after Marrickville legend Annette Kellerman , a big R radical before her time. The Swimmer cum actress/writer is credited with inventing the one-piece swimsuit and synchronized swimming.

With a colour scheme which resembles a citrus container of tic tacs the swimming complex is home to a 50 metre pool and gym. After a decent swim there’s also two excellent café’s nearby, Petty Cash, on the edge of the park and West Juliet, home to famed cookies (although closed on the Sunday when we visited).

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Cost: $6.80 for adults

Sydney best indoor swimming pools

What lies beneath, Cook And Phillip

Best inner city swim – Cook & Phillip Aquatic Centre

Fairly urban and gritty, the C&P can be found hidden below a fairly impressive water feature and large Catholic church.

The 50 metre pool is not for Sunday strollers. It’s a great place to pump out some laps on your way home from work, or sweat out your Saturday night session in chlorinated water.

The kids pool is also seriously impressive. An excessive amount of nock and crannies make it an excellent location for a marathon Marco Polo game. Seriously, Marco could survive like Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in this kids pool. Just don’t tell the American lifeguard.

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Cost: $7 for adults

Sydney's best indoor swimming pools

Palm trees poolside, Olympic Park

Best all rounder – Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Homebush

Getting to the Olympic Park Aquatic Centre takes sheer commitment. If you can handle the Parramatta Road traffic you will be rewarded. It turns out the Aquatic Centre has done a pretty great job at reinventing itself since the Sydney 2000 olympics.

The enormous complex not only houses a competitive pool area, with pretty large stadium seating for events, it also offers a lazy-persons swimming complex which is seriously impressive. In fact it is so impressive there are trees inside the complex. Actual palm trees, that line a 50 metre pool and shade probably the best kids water complex in Sydney.

At only $7.50 for an entry fee it is seriously a poor man’s Wet n Wild, with waterslides, spray jets, a bucket dump, and a highly enjoyable river rapid ride. Too bad it was the school holidays, it was advisable to make sure your mouth was closed at all times.

Read the full review.

Cost: $7. 50 for adults, includes kids pool, steam and sauna

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