North Sydney Olympic Pool (25th October 2011)

Since Jono and I moved to Sydney 7.5 months ago, I've not been back swimming on a regular basis and actually miss it heaps - it is a great way to forget about life's stresses because all I can think of is counting my swim strokes and breathe. It's pretty obvious when I'm thinking about a work issue or similar because you will see me stop mid-length and splutter; I lose count and take in a mouthful of water instead of breathing out. Jono's keen to go diving this summer so I need to get back into the routine of swimming to build up more water confidence.

I would pass by Milsons Point on my way to and fro work every weekday and have been eyeing
North Sydney Olympic Pool for months, reminding myself to check it out but just never got around to doing so. Well, today was the day - I finally decided to get my butt over for a swim during my lunch break. Around 11.30am, I headed to the train station to catch the train to Milsons Point located one stop away from North Sydney station. The weather has been stinking hot the last few days (it was 32 degrees yesterday and it's not even summer yet!) however today has been rather gloomy and the temperature dropped down to mid-10s. I could feel the cold breeze coming from the harbour as I walked from the train station to the pool on Alfred Street South (about 5 minutes walk) - brr!

Cost $6.70 for a single pool visit and this entitles you to swim in both the 50-metre and/or 25-metre pool (the 50-metre pool is outdoors and has amazing views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park). As this was my first visit to the pool, the guy at reception gave me free tokens to use on the locker and shower. It normally costs 
$2 for a locker located in the 25-metre pool area and 50 cents per shower token that gives you 3 minutes of hot water. Hmm, if I had to pay for the tokens, that's nearly 10 bucks for a swim which is pretty expensive...I'm glad it was free this time round so I could check out the place and decide if it was worth the weekly visit.

In my swim gear and with my trusty swim programme from Swimplan in hand (I've used Swimplan ever since I started swimming), I headed into the indoor 25-metre pool for my swim. Oh, this is nice - there were only three other people swimming in the lanes and I had the medium lane all to myself. Yes! Normally if I went swimming at Freyberg Pool in Wellington during lunchtime, it would be quite busy with traffic in the lanes so this was fantastic :) The pool was 1.2 metres deep at its shallowest and only goes down to 1.3 metres at the other end. 

Oh my god - the 750-metre swim was a killer! My arms and legs were feeling rather tired halfway through the swim programme swimming in freestyle. This is why you should never stop doing a sport or activity which requires physical movements for extended lengths of time - it hurts when you get back to it. But boy did it felt good being in the water again, reminding me how much I enjoy swimming. I noticed t
here weren't any swim aids available for public use - turned out these were not provided but can be hired or purchased from reception. Cost $3 to hire or $36 to buy a kick board (that's just absurd!). I'm bringing my own next time!

With the female showers, you've got to be comfortable baring it all in front of other women because it's a communal shower with no 
cubicles/dividers. One annoying thing about the female changing room was the wet floor, leaving little to no dry space to stand on when getting dressed. I contemplated using the hair dryer to dry my feet before putting on my socks but there was another lady around so decided against it. I don't think I would feel comfortable with her staring at me drying my feet...

Besides the pools, there is also a gym and sauna on site and you can purchase a membership or multi-admission pass to make use of these facilities. I would probably get the Adult Bulk Purchase 20 Visits swim pass on my next visit (cost $110 and has no expiry date). That would bring the cost of my swim down to $5.50 per visit and I might see if there's a shower at work I can use instead to save cost.

I'm SO hungry now I can eat a cow - swimming always makes me ravenous!!


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