Free open days to launch summer swims

Free open days to launch summer swims

The City of Sydney is hosting open days at its five aquatic centres, with Sydneysiders invited to a free dip ahead of the summer season.

Kicking off at Prince Alfred Park Pool on Saturday 21 October, the aquatic centre open days will give visitors free access to the Olympic-sized swimming pools on the summer season launch days at each pool, a tour of the facilities, a range of activities and a free barbecue.

Visitors can take advantage of a special membership offer and sign up without having to pay a joining fee, giving them access to all City pools and fitness centres. Parents can also book learn to swim programs for their children and get the first two weeks free.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s pools gave residents and children an opportunity to lead fit and healthy lives.

“Our open days are designed to introduce new swimmers to the likes of Neeson Murcutt’s wonderful Prince Alfred Park Pool or the perfectly positioned Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton pool,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Countless children have learned life-saving skills at our pools. I’m proud of the fact that our pools are accessible and popular with older people or people living with disability.

“With affordable prices and a safe environment, our five aquatic centres give residents a good opportunity to build and maintain their fitness.”

It was a visit to a City pool 15 years ago that helped Surry Hills resident Keith Scott turn his life around.

In his late 30s at the time, Mr Scott was spurred into action after an ominous warning from his GP.

“The doc had a good look at me and said I was overweight, had high blood pressure and was basically a sitting duck for a heart attack or stroke. He asked me whether I wanted to live or die – and if I did survive, whether I’d want to spend that time inside or outside a hospital,” Mr Scott said.

“I decided to go for a swim at the Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton pool. I saw all these old people doing an aqua class and was amazed to see them treading water for so long.

“I later found out they were wearing floatation devices, but I was still pretty impressed. I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t a great swimmer to begin with, but it wasn’t long before I ditched the floaties myself.”

Starting as a fairly average swimmer, it wasn’t long before Mr Scott became a veteran of aqua aerobics and deep-water running.

“I can swim and run rings around most people, even some of the younger guys,” Mr Scott said.

“I visited my GP two days ago and he said I’ve now got the blood pressure of a 20-year-old. My cholesterol is right down too.

“As for the weight, well who doesn’t put on a few kilos over winter? Squeezing into that first t-shirt in September is always a bit of a shock. But I usually lose it after a few weeks in the pool.

“Apart from the physical benefits, going to the pools is a great social experience. There’s a real sense of camaraderie around the place. You walk in and just about everyone says hello to you, whether they’re swimmers or trainers.”

Sydneysiders are invited for a free dip at any of the City of Sydney’s fitness and aquatic centres during five free open days throughout October and November.

Each of the City’s five aquatic centres boast 50-metre pools for lap swimming and a range of other facilities and services, including gyms, indoor courts, fitness classes, massage/physiotherapy treatments and cafes.

The following pools will be free to the public on their open days:

21 October: Prince Alfred Park Pool, 10am–3pm

28 October: Victoria Park Pool, 10am–3pm

4 November: Cook + Phillip Park Pool, 10am–3pm

18 November: Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool, 10am–3pm

25 November: Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, 3pm–9pm, including a Dive In movie at 7pm

For media inquiries or images, contact Senior Media Advisor Alex Cauchi. Phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, phone 02 8974 4165 or email