With only 6 weeks and 3 days to go till the wedding I’ve decided to get fit! That is, I’ve conceded that running is never going to be ‘for me’ and have returned to the pool. I’ve opted to go to Withington Swimming Baths, rather than the admittedly superior Aquatics Centre, as it’s only a 5 min walk from home and therefore convenient to go to before work. The Aquatics Centre is right next door to work on Oxford Road, but I can’t be bothered finding time either in the middle of the day once I’m at work, or after work.
It’s not the cleanest pool I’ve ever seen (lots of dubious bits floating about) but unlike other pools it doesn’t have lanes roped off so you’re free to swim at whatever speed you like, without feeling like you’re either being held-up or chased-down by your fellow pool users. The water also (perhaps worryingly so) doesn’t seem to be heavily chlorinated. It’s also proper old style, it reminds me of the pool I learnt to swim in (featured in the video*). Like the Guinea Gap, Withington Baths were built in the Edwardian period (1913), and still has some original features such as green tiles around the pool, stone steps into the water, brass-like siderails, and shed-style roof. Unfortunately, the old changing rooms with wooden doors have been replaced by plastic cubicles. Apparently, when the baths were built no distinction was made between first and second-class bathing and, in 1914, they became the first baths in Manchester where mixed bathing was permitted.
I’ve only been twice so far but I intend to keep it up… really I do.
*I would like to add that I don’t in any way endorse the keeping of dolphins in 25 metre swimming pools; I wasn’t born when this video was shot but I do have vague recollections of the Guinea Gap having salt water in the early 1980s – yuck.