Clapham: Common

Here’s another 25m indoor pool for you. Just off Clapham High Street (probably my least favourite road in London) is this modest light box. The road it is on is aptly named ‘Bicycle Mews’ which I thought was very quaint. The whole centre seems very modern and clean from the off, which is great. It’s a lovely centre, and I wish the pool was bigger to make it a bit more special than a bog standard trip to the local pool.

I like that when you arrive at the pool you are requested to wear overshoes, from all of the pools I have visited now, this does seem to help keep the space much nicer. The whole colour scheme is white and spearmint green (borderline like a hospital), I think it must have had a recent refurb as even the tile grouting isn’t grubby.

The pool area is very bright, with white frosted windows, which does make you feel nicely energised and ready to swim. The bottom of the pool moves so it can become deeper as necessary, and there are diving blocks at the deep end (hurrah!). The light ashy coloured wooden sides of the roof even add to the clean feel. The pool tiles have been kept well, and considering my last swim was in a like, this feel as clean as a bath.

I went on a Tuesday evening, about 7ish, and 2 lanes were open swimming, 2 lanes were being used for lessons, which left 2 remaining lanes for lane swimming. This is clearly a popular spot for people to visit on their way home from work. It was heaving. The lanes are too thin for comfort and the different speeds (or lack of) started to drive me mad. There is no way that a ‘medium’ lane and a ‘fast’ lane are going to work when they are all that is available. The medium lane was full of people who struggled to complete a length and girls in bikinis who refused to even put their shoulders in the water. The fast was exactly the same.

When 7.30 arrived, another lane was opened to the public, which was a relief. Lots of people left at this point (maybe parents of the tinies having a lesson) and then the whole experience drastically improved. The pool is more than fine, but you just feel like you are turning around every couple of strokes with a pool so small. I was surprised it wasn’t more impressive as I do associate Clapham with sporty people, but then again with Tooting just down the road, maybe it does as required.

The changing rooms are clean, and there are assorted sized lockers which return your £1. There are family sized changing rooms (and a nice pool for kids) as well as plenty of cubicles. There are about 4/5 shower cubicles, which are fine, but the water pressure could do with some punch behind it.

I think a great one for local families or people looking to have a simple swim up and down for half an hour, maybe even on a lunchbreak. Just a bit showhome/beige. I’d love to see some competitive swimming there, or at least a time when they would need to utilise the moving floor.

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