Sunday, June 26, 2011

Post Earthquake Swimming

One of the big challenges with the earthquake is that your routine is completely thrown out the window. For several weeks after the 22 February earthquake all of Christchurch's swimming pools were closed and the damage to the city's sewerage system meant that the only safe open water swimming option was the lake at Pegasus.

Cycling has also been a little complicated with cordons, damaged roads and more concentrated traffic on those streets that are in working order.

The timing of the earthquake in relation to ironman couldn't have been much better. The lack of facilities during March and April wasn't really missed as I was on a programme of rest and recovery. Structured training was off the menu and it was a case of doing some fun stuff and making the most of the down time.

This lack of activity can last only so long, though, before you move past the rest and recovery phase and into the fat and lazy stage. Add to that the need to get back into a normal routine in order to aid the emotional recovery of the earthquake and you can imagine that reopening of Jellie Park was very welcome.

When I say "reopening" I guess I should clarify that as a partial reopening. You see Christchurch has one other 50m pool and that is at QEII Stadium, venue of the 1974 Commonwealth Games. Problem is, as mayor Bob Parker would say, it's munted. So that means that Jellie Park is the city's only 50m pool, and it's an outdoor one. And usually it would close for winter by Easter each year.

However we are now heading towards the end of June and Christchurch is still chronically short of swim space - and it's a problem that's likely to be around for a while.  The city council operates four indoor swimming complexes: QEII, Centennial, Jellie Park and Pioneer.  Of these QEII is closed indefinitely and Centennial is also closed pending a structural assessment.  Jellie Park and Pioneer are operating and doing their best to accomodate the demand from the closed facilities.  In addition we have two private pools, Wharenui and Aquagym.  Wharenui has just reopened and Aquagym is hoping to reopen in August.

Jellie Park has therefore been keeping the outdoor pool open and this has been well supported by swimmers, which has been great.  Every time I go in it seems the closing date has been extended further and the current expectation is that it will close mid July.  After that we will be limited to the 2 x 25m pools at Jellie, 1 x 25m pool at Pioneer and 1 x 25m pool at Wharenui.

Fun times!