After spending nearly 8 months looking for a swimming pool near my work (Aldgate East) and convinced there must be one, I went back to the search function on the Better website yet again. I do not know how I missed this, but St. George’s is less than a 5 minute cycle away. Situated on the edge of St George’s Gardens (which is lovely) and just off the unbelievably busy Highway, is the brutal concrete box.
When I went in the young man on reception was really friendly and explained I need to go to the first floor and on then the first door on the right. And he told me I needed 20p for the locker (cue gravelly Marge Simpson groan). On the way up the stairs I passed some random Amazon collection point, and into the changing rooms. There are a couple of large changing rooms and 5 little cubicles, all looking a little faded, but generally clean and with a pretty vibrant orange, green and white colour scheme going on.
Now, as I’m journeying around the different pools I’m finding out that there are several questions where I am wondering why certain ‘elements’ have been used. Today’s rant: short doors. In the cubicle there was no lock on the door, but to be honest I couldn’t care less about that anymore, but the bottom of the door was at the top of my calf, and the top of the door was level with my shoulders, admittedly it did cover up the areas you would expect, but I just felt as though it was a bit weird and open, especially when the shower doors were the same size.
Anyhoo, I got changed, found a reasonably sized tall and thin locker, waved goodbye to my 20 pence and carried my wash stuff and towel out to pool side. This is a new thing that I’m doing when I get charged 20p for the pleasure of using a locker. I’m not going to go back to get my shower things, then lock it again. Sticking it to the man. Kindly on poolside, the man has placed little benches where it is fine to leave your belongings as well.
I absolutely love this pool. It’s 33m long, which I think is great after swimming in 25m pools for the last few swims. It has an actual deep end (3.8m) where you are allowed to dive in! and there are diving boards which were being set up when I was heading off. I really like it when you swim up the lane and it looks as though you are swimming over the edge into the deep. The pool ladder is made of something sturdier than grating metal (yes!), the pool is slightly colder than expected but not freezing, and the even though the lanes are quite thin, it was so quiet that there was only 2 people per lane anyway. This may have been the timing on 8am on a Saturday. The lane names were fitting: I couldn’t keep up with the 2 very loud American men in the ‘fast’ lane, and I was quite happy to swim in the medium lane as I wasn’t exactly setting a speedy pace. This made me genuinely happy to see people being able to swim at a speed that they wanted to.
I also really liked the there were large windows all around 3 of the 4 walls, so there was plenty of light. The water felt quite clean, not syrupy and it was quite a fast pool. The little flags that go over the pool looked like they had been sitting in the washing machine for too long and were faded and crumpled. Which I think quite sums this place up. It is a very well functioning pool and great environment, it’s just a bit washed-out. Personally, I think this pool has plenty of space and kept clean but not too shiny or showy, so just right.
As I was lathering up with a full view out into the changing rooms (weird) the in the push-button shower I was thinking about whether this pool is just for grown-ups of families etc, I think it is a great all-rounder. Nice one.