Des Renford Leisure Centre, Maroubra
I’ve been professionally swimming and watching in judgement, (aka writing this blog) for more than two and a half years now. I know, time really flies. And yes I’ve been a little a lapsed of late, real job overtaking, real life events getting in the way (dryer shopping, wine drinking, rewatching the entire series of the Hills, don’t judge).
It’s also easier to make excuses when I think I’ve judged every pool in the neighbourhood, and need to drive beyond my comfort zone to find new material.
Des Renford Leisure Centre is about 15 minutes from my house. It’s tucked away deep in the almost working class section of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs bordering Kingsford and Maroubra (although a million $$ will still only buy you a carport, but I digress),
Des Renford himself was a long distance swimming champion who swam the English Channel 19 times from 19 attempts. After all that time in cold, grey water covered in animal fat, Des finally got a swim centre named after him. He deserved it.
The DRLC as it’s known is a big hit with locals, judging by the packed carpark and even more out of control changing rooms. Key learning this place has a big focus on families and little people. And what do families of small children do on the weekend? Swim school my friends.Which is only enjoyable if you are the small person in the pool, or possibly one of the dads paddling in the slow lane. And even that is debatable.
The DRLC tells me from the brochure that it is deliberately different. It’s big on kids entertainment, from the inflatable waterslide area to the party zone, swim school, three kids pools, you get the drift. It also has a gym and studio.
But for me some of the basics just weren’t great. The outdoor 50 metre pool definitely looked like the pick of the bunch, but on this 12 degree morning, with a water temp of 20.5 degrees I just wasn’t hard enough.
So inside I went, and hit the lanes of the 25 metre indoor pool. In fairness it wasn’t too busy and the vibe was fairly calm, but the area seemed a little dingy compared to some of Sydney’s other impressive indoor pools such as Ian Thorpe or the Olympic Aquatic Centre. But then again this is a municipal pool, not a flashy city piscine. So maybe I’m a little rusty with all this pool judging.
High points: The calm blue waters of the 50 metre outdoor pool. Too bad I’m a bit of a Nancy in Winter.
Low points: The changing rooms were parental chaos. The 25 metre pool also seemed a little dingy.
Best for: local Maroubra families
Cost: $6.20 per adult
Overall score – 7.0