40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

North Sydney Olympic Pool at Night

on January 11, 2014

pool and Harbour Bridge after darkI don’t usually give repeat airtime to pools, but my after-dark visit the North Sydney Harbour Pool (#64) was notable both for the beauty of the pool and the discovery of an exhibit about the pool’s history.

Here are two pictures to give you a sense of what it was like. Happily, I even had my own lane. In fact, for most of my swim, there were only two other lap swimmers–perhaps because this was the day after the party-filled New Year’s Day–and for some reason they chose to share a lane. I especially enjoyed backstroking to admire the views of the illuminated Harbour Bridge and Luna Park.

Luna Park end of the pool, all lit upAs at the Olympic Park pool, the exhibit here was a bit hidden away, in this case in a corridor behind the change rooms, and is definitely worth seeking out. You’ll find historic photos of the pool including high divers and world-class competitions. I was intrigued to learn that this facility’s similarity to some of my favorite outdoor pools in New York is more than skin deep. Just like them, as previously noted, it was built in 1936. What I didn’t realize is that it was also a Depression-relief project, creating jobs and bringing happiness to the beleaguered population. Also of note is harbour swimmers at this site, prior to the pool being built, developed the “Australian crawl” freestyle technique that is now used in competition. Be sure to seek out the exhibit when you visit for this info and lots more.

exhibit hall

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