Free Swimming (in four years time)

Jamey Posts: 2,152
edited June 2008 in The bottom bracket

England's swimming pools could be free to use by the time of the London 2012 Olympics, the government has signalled.

Over-60s are to be given free admission to public swimming pools in an £80m initiative, part of a bid to get more people involved in sport by 2012.

Sports minister Andy Burnham indicated future funding would allow free entry to under-16s, then to everyone by 2012.

It's one of those "about time"/"that's how it should have been all along"/"it just makes sense" type of moments tbqfh.

If you want people to do something, make it easy for them, or at least remove as much hassle as you can.

Now perhaps if they could sort out the appalling number of Olympic-size pools in this country, instead of repeatedly threatening to close the only one inside the M25 (at least until Stratford's built), maybe we might actually run out of UK-swimming-related gripes.


  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    Yes, it's a crime there aren't more Olympic-sized pools for over-60s! :)

    On the other hand, when I was unemployed a few years ago I went swimming most days (this was before I cycled in the winter) and the swimming pools would go bust - during daytime hours it's only OAPs who use the pool.
  • cee
    cee Posts: 4,553
    not only that, but pools that you can actually swim in are being turned into fun pools that are 3feet deep and crazy shapes, with water jets and slides etc. Thats great for the kids, but its impossible to swim a length now.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

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  • Clever Pun
    Clever Pun Posts: 6,778
    I used to love swimming, it was a nice 40 minutes 1 mile package that was great when you were feeling rough
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  • Bad idea. There are a lot of people who don't respect what they don't pay for.
  • Swannie
    Swannie Posts: 107
    Christ. When will the government understand.

    More money for teaching sports in schools. It's f******* simple.

    The majority of school students are put off by the minority of students who excel at sports. Guess which students the school teachers spend their time working with? The students who will represent them in football, rugby, hockey, cricket, athletics, or the students who have non-athletic parents, who just struggle by in class?

    The student teacher ratio for sports education needs to be massively improved. No other subject requires quite as much individual attention. No surprise students are pushed into team sports. It's easier for the teachers.

    Don't get me wrong. I think it's great news, just like the free bus passes. The cost to the services are minimal for a huge benefit. A great idea. However improving sport in the UK will only come from direct investment in sport in schools, and sport involvement pushed through schools. (In the sense, that a school could massively promote fitness to parents by getting them involved in sporting events. How many mum's and dad's are waiting around to pick up their kids from sports practice or competitions, when they themselves could be doing exercise at the same time?)
  • Zendog1
    Zendog1 Posts: 816
    I think this will turn out to be yet another badly thought out c*ck up from our wonderful (sic) government.

    Before getting bitten by the cycling bug I used to swim 5 - 7000 m a week and with a bit of care with the timings it was just possible to actually swim most of the time rather than dodge round splashing kids. With the pools free my guess is swimming will become next to impossible - most of the people who currently use public pools for fitness will be forced into private pools at vast expense or give in (or come to think on it take up cycling :D ).

    Spend lots of money replacing all the pools closed overy the last twenty years plus free might work but I bet it does'nt happen.
  • Jamey
    Jamey Posts: 2,152
    If you're trying to swim distances you need a pool with lanes, regardless of whether you're swimming today (when it costs money) or in 2012 (when it might be free).

    If your local pool doesn't put lanes out for 'proper' swimming then pressure them to do so. Mine has at least a couple out most of the time and sometimes they only allow lane swimming.

    But remember that all the kids splashing about have a right to be there too. Pools aren't just for exercise, like parks or roads or any other geographical location.

    The key is just to make sure the people that want to swim real lengths can do so without being interrupted by the people who are just splashing about for fun.
  • Zendog1
    Zendog1 Posts: 816
    Lanes are usless when they get crowded - swimming at the pace of the slowest pensioner in the que is not something you want to repeat often.

    Obviously the kids have as much right in a pool as me. BUT the point of the exercise (according to the interview on lunchtime news) is to increase the number of people swimming for fitness.

    My point is it will turn out to have the reverse effect unless they build lots more pools.
  • Jamey
    Jamey Posts: 2,152
    If lanes are properly enforced (which they rarely are at present, but hopefully that can improve) and the people in those lanes follow basic etiquette (let people past if they're right behind you when you stop to turn around) then there's no reason why they can't work just fine.

    In fact, they do work fine at my local pool every day of the week. And at Crystal Palace they work a treat.
  • Zendog1
    Zendog1 Posts: 816
    I think we will have to agree to differ on this one.

    My experience of lanes in all but the quietest conditions is a tediousy stop start proccession - lets hope you are right.

  • pneumatic
    pneumatic Posts: 1,989
    a huge vat of chlorinated child soup with lumpy old bits - no thanks! I'll stay on the bike.

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  • OffTheBackAdam
    OffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,869
    Does the phrase "Jam tomorrow" come to anybody else's mind?
    Possibly "Pigs might fly" too?
    This sorry lot aren't going to be around in 4 years, so they could promise everybody a free Ferrari and not have to deliver on it.
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • Jamey
    Jamey Posts: 2,152
    If you don't actually like swimming then it probably wasn't worth clicking on this thread in the first place.

    I do like swimming.

    And I think making it free is a great idea.

    And I also think that there will always be a way for serious swimmers to do the amount of lengths they need to do without interruption. Some pools may be better than others for this, just like they are today.
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,322
    true - they ve just buiolt a competition standard pool in Llandudno but the current one is shocking!

    the waves in it a re terrible and unless you go early (which is actually ruin very well) then the lanes are useless

    they make two lanes into one so its supposed to be a big circle - but it never works is just a free for all and a little pointless tbh!
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver