One of the more difficult pools to get to, this one sounded quite glamorous, with ‘Wimbledon Leisure Centre and Spa‘ as the name. The building is stunning from the outside (even though it was dark outside with the evenings drawing in ever-closer) which set my expectations high. As I arrived expecting the pool to stay open until 10pm, and on arrival being told that the pool would be closing half an hour earlier, it was certainly more rushed than relaxing.
After I had asked about the pool closing time, and also found out the lockers would need (and therefore retain) 20p, my motivation sank a bit. The pool had better be good.
I went into the changing rooms which were quite small, but very nice, to be met by a modest changing area and plenty of lockers and actually a pleasant and well-maintained space. There is a nice bathroom and then spotted one of the little spin dryer things, and started to think that this could be turned around, and despite having to rush, it was a well-designed and overall positive experience.
Out onto poolside and the pool area is very nice, but the first thing I noticed was the lack of any natural light. I was sure I hadn’t gone downstairs to get there, and I did manage to get a glimpse of a window from the deep end. This is a bit weird and makes it feel as though it is a very unnatural environment or that you are deep underground, it all feels as bit oppressive. Genuinely, if there was more light I would struggle to fault the pool itself, even with the unnecessary motivational quotes on the wall.
The attention to detail in the design is well above par, and the small tiles and clean look of the pool make you want to spend more time in the pool and give it a relaxing a certainly fit in with the ‘spa’ setting. The pool doesn’t quite reach 2m depth, which makes it feel relatively quick, and as a not particularly tall person I could touch the floor. I also liked that at 1.5m depth there was a sign saying ‘No diving below 1.5m’ which I thought was a nice touch, with a bit of an explanation, and still allowing fun.
The lanes were wide enough for a comfortable swim, and the water didn’t feel full of chemicals, which was a surprise considering the lack of light and ventilation. One of the main positives of this place, was that I thought the pool was 25m. After swimming for a while this came into question, and it’s actually 30m. Excellent, I’ve got to count any extra distance, and made me feel better that I’d had to rush, and probably managed a reasonable pace after all.
It got to 9.30pm and even though neither of the 2 fellas swimming were rushing to leave, I’d already swam further than planned without realising, so decided to go and get changed. The showers are nice, nothing too special, a few dark cubicles with push-buttons, but you can leave your stuff on the benches not too far away so at least you can keep an eye on it.
At this point it occurred that I hadn’t seen any other women in the changing room, and it was all a bit quiet and eerie, and getting very close to closing time. I used the little spin dryer (honestly the best invention), and skipped passed the hairdryers, and made my way out through the unmanned exit.
I’d be intrigued to see what the spa had to offer, and maybe without the time being against this would have been more relaxing. There is some sort of time/space/light/air/pressure equation that just doesn’t add up.