Location: Forest Hill, Victoria, Australia
Configuration: 8 lanes x 50 meters
Aqualink Nunawading (pronounced NUNN-a-wadd-ing) is my Aussie hosts Jo and Frankie’s neighborhood pool. It is also where the Nunawading Swimming Club, one of Australia’s largest and most successful squads, trains.
Naturally, we checked it out the first morning we were at their house, just outside Melbourne. This was Monday, January 6, and the place was packed with kids on summer vacation. I was not sorry to be swimming indoors, as it was a cold* day, and I hadn’t packed for that kind of weather.
Aside from the good fortune of having a 50-meter pool plus play pool, gym, and café nearby, I was struck by all the geometry this pool had going on. Rectangular sound panels, swooping waves over the stands, and downward-facing red triangles for decor. In the play pool, meanwhile, a gray cloud mounted to the ceiling produced rain on demand.
With selected lanes designated for play, lessons, and aqua aerobics, just three were left for lap swimmers, so I had to share with a variety of people utilizing a variety of swim aids and styles. I’m afraid we did not see any of the elite swimmers who train here such as Leisel Jones and Brooke Hanson.
The pool was built in 1960, like many of the houses in this formerly orchard-covered area, and the facility has expanded significantly since that time. Jo remembers having to walk outdoors to get to the change rooms when she came here as a kid, but everything is under one roof now.
*Cold is relative and in this case means single-digit Celsius temperatures–unusual for this time of year. We did not experience the polar vortex that made things quite chilly in New York.