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A new pool and a new problem

Swimming pool

A fresh start.

My GP has referred me to a something called “Fresh Start” which is a 12 week exercise program designed for people who have or are recovering from cancer.

The idea is to improve my “core” fitness in a gentle and controlled way in the gym to get me to the stage where I can go on the next course which will be pulmonary rehabilitation.

Today was assessment where they see how healthy I am am and what level to start me off and next week is induction where they introduce me to the machines and start me off.

As the leisure centre also has a swimming pool I thought I would kill 2 birds with 1 stone and book my swim for straight afterwards.

Not my regular pool.

This is not my “regular” pool in fact it’s in a different London borough altogether and my GP can only refer me to ones in my borough which this one is.

So this was a “new” pool to me, I say new but when I lived in Orpington some 31 years ago this was my regular pool.

I got told off.

So I had my assessment and went and got changed for a swim, I got in the pool put my googles and snorkel on and started to swim, as I set off I thought heard someone blowing a whistle but didn’t really think much of it until I got to the other end and took my head out of the water to catch my breath and there’s this pool lifeguard standing at the end of the pool saying “Didn’t you hear the whistle? you can’t do that in here” “No” I said “I usually wear hearing aids but I take them out to swim as they don’t really like getting wet” “Well you can’t use that in here” he said “Use what?” I said “The snorkel”.. I’m like WTF?? “why not?” I said “It’s against the rules” he said “Where does it say that then, it says ‘no running’ ‘no diving in the shallow end’ but it doesn’t say ‘no snorkels’ anywhere” I said “well you can’t it’s against the rules, in case we have to give you CPR” I am having another WTF moment here, if I needed CPR just take it out.. but I could tell he was a jobsworth so I thought ‘I am not arguing with you’ “Can you get me a manager then please” I said”

The manager

The manager turned up a few minutes later and he agreed and said they don’t allow them to be used so I pointed out they could be committing an offence under the equality act 2010 “I have a serious lung condition which prevents me from swimming front crawl because when I pull my head out of the water to breathe I cannot draw enough air in during the time it takes me to finish a stroke (when you swim front crawl you actually breath out underwater and lift and turn your head to the side to breathe in but you only have the time it takes for you arm to do exit the water after the last stroke and enter before the next stroke. If you can’t do this then it throws your timing right off and means you have to do loads more exertion to go the same distance.) So by using a snorkel I can breathe in and out without raising my head which allows to swim this stroke” I explained.
He then asked about my condition “It’s bronchiectasis” I said he then said in that case it would be ok for me to use my snorkel.

I think perhaps I might have to do several sessions there and go through this with all the duty managers until the staff get it.

My snorkel

When you think of a snorkel you probably think of something like this.

My snorkel however is different, it’s known as a ‘training snorkel’ or ‘lap snorkel’ which instead of sitting at the side of your head like a conventional snorkel sits in the front of your head and goes back over your head.

Centre snorkel


Here’s me looking like a complete tit and showing you what I mean.

I really can’t understand the objection to this snorkel at all, but there you have, they did at first object but after I had explained it, it all worked out this time. but the story may continue.

25 metres

That’s the length of the of the 2 pools I have used so far, 25m isn’t that far, not for a fit and healthy swimmer anyway, but for me well it’s about 5m out from what I am comfortably able to do so I found myself struggling a bit for the last 5m to get to the end of the pool.

But my new membership also allows me access to another local pool, this one I know is smaller only 20m and I am going to try it tomorrow.

I am hoping the shorter length of 20m is about right for me because that’s how I swim, I swim a length and then recover then swim back, at the deep end I just hold the end until my breathing gets back to normal, usually between 2-3 minutes and at the shallow end I stand.

However the first thing I will do at this new pool is establish that I can use my snorkel first before I use it in case they tell me off again. 🤣🤣 I’ll of course let you know how I get on.


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