When the centre opened it was fantastic, cool water, 10-lanes, relatively empty. The club session was organised for 3-lanes, I encouraged as many people as I could to join as members, including my wife. Life was good even if the Mens changing room floor was regularly covered puddles of luke warm dirty water. In I think 2004, I organised a triathlon from the centre and when I moved to the USA in 2005 eveything was still good.
Back to visit my parents, the kids and Wendy, staying at the Colney Fox I was up early this morning and over to the sports centre. It opened at 8am and much to my surprise only had four wide lanes. Still I settled in near one lane rope and attempted to swim up and down. That pretty much never worked out as the middle lane was awash with people swimming in some random pattern. I moved to the fast lane.
Now, I should say that I'm only a moderate swimmer, my best time for 400m is 6:45 and I've only swum a couple of times since September. Still over in the fast lane there were only two others, I agreed with them I'd swim up and down in the middle and they'd stick to the sides. It wasn't long before we were joined by a 4th swimmer and so it was back to swimming in a circular fashion as prescribed by the lane signs.
Before long I was overtaking the other swimmers, once per two lengths. Overtaking at the end of the lanes was problematically as none of them was any good at turns and all slowed down and then took most of the wide lane to perform their turn. A few more lengths and two of them at a time were taking breaks at the end of the lanes and standing around "chatting" for 2-3 mins at a time, making turns even more difficult.
Why of why did the Sports Village turn from being a swimming pool to being a public baths? At an outrageous £4.20/$7.24 for a swim session I for one won't be back and there were no other fast swimmers there.
While I can understand the need to have the slower lanes double wide, say two wide lanes taking the space of 4-lanes. Making the faster lanes doube wide just wastes space, creates confusion and causes uneeded stress. Mostly there is a whole lane in the middle of a double wide lane wasted, as people swim up and down the sides. It would be much better and much simpler if they reverted to single lanes for the medium and fast lanes and put signs up saying 2-people per lane, split the lane, 3-or more rotaional swimming.
Disappointingly the mens shower floor hadn't been fixed, but there was plenty of security present outside with constant patrols. I guess that's why the entry fee has gone up, after all one assumes the management would claim that double-wide lanes attracts more people so it can't be lack of swimmers, and if it is, perhaps they should put single lanes back anyway?