When I read about this pool, I was hardly inspired, 25m indoor pool, blah blah blah and after I trekked all the way to Swiss Cottage after work on a Friday evening to be told it closed at 6 (despite being listed as open until 10pm on the website) I wasn’t expecting much. Not a great start. This time was a totally different experience, and is aptly named (prepare for sweeping generalisation) with the efficiency expected from the Swiss and it presented in cottage-sized scale. The building is currently surrounded in scaffolding and the outside is nothing to look at, I nearly missed it whilst focussing on the hectic main road outside. When you go in there is a good atmosphere and the staff are friendly. I was advised that to use the lockers I need to go along to the white box, pay my 20p and collect a token to put in the locker. This, to me, seems utterly utterly pointless and makes no sense.
Down the stairs and round to the right is the entrance to the changing rooms. Along the corridor there are mirrors and (free) hairdryers. Once you enter the changing rooms there are more mirrors and hairdyers (seriously, total overload), and some cubicles and and entire room of lockers. It’s all been practically designed and is clean.
The pool is quite straightforward, straight up 25m, divided into 8 quite narrow lanes. The narrow lanes were fine here as people had managed to swim in a lane relevant to their speed, which was quite refreshing! The pool feels quite fast and at the deep end is 2m. It felt quite (not too) cold in the water which was good as I didn’t feel suffocated by hot chlorine, and the whole place felt open. There were diving blocks at one end, which is encouraging, and it does seem like a place where people take swimming quite seriously. There is a little viewing area with fold up seats which adds to the competitive tone.
One thing I wasn’t sure about with the design of pool is how low the water sits (or how high the walls are depending how you look at it). As a non tumble turner, I realised that I do use the edge to pull me up at the end of a length. Here, you have a flat wall so it’s just hitting it and then turning around. I’ve seen this before in loads of other pools but there’s normally a metal rail around the edge. Just a point of note if you aren’t a strong swimmer and might want to hold on to something. It also made me feel a bit trapped as there was no way I could climb out from there, and had to negotiate my way back through the lanes to the near side to make my way out.
Back to the changing rooms, and the showers are awesome. Touch button showers with some decent power behind them. There are 2 cubicles and 3 open showers, and they are spot on. The changing room (of lockers) is nice enough to get changed in, and I decided not to try any of the million hairdryers available on this occasion.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable swim, probably one of the better (Better) 25m indoor pools I have been to. I’d say it’s more for grown-ups who want to get some training done.