Pool set to open soon
Cromwell facility brilliant but travel tiring
Since mid-July Wanaka swimmers have been rising before dawn several times aweek to make the 53 kilometre, 40 minute trek to Cromwell for training.
Many others have made their water workout an evening affair, so news the Wanaka pool should reopen at the end of the first week of October has delighted the sleepdeprived athletes.
Wanaka’s community pool was closed suddenly on July 18 for engineering and earthquake reasons, and hundreds of swimmers have been grateful for the use of the Cromwell Community Pool.
‘‘The Cromwell pool has been absolutely awesome. The facility and the staff are fantastic. I wish we could pick it up and bring it back with us,’’ swimming coach Fi Hezinger said at her 6.30am training session on Monday.
One of the immediate and noticeable benefits of the Cromwell pool had been the cooler water temperature, making recovery between sets easier for the athletes – although the flipside of this has been harder programmes from Hezinger.
Her adult squad, Aspiring Swimmers, has been visiting Cromwell four times a week while elite swimmers from Wanaka Swim Club have had three trips a week, supplemented by extra gym sessions before school in Wanaka.
Hezinger has done the most kilometres by car, travelling an estimated 742km a week, while her charges probably swim between 10 and 15km over three or four sessions. ‘‘The kids are really struggling. ‘‘It is a long day for them to travel down after school, getting back at 7pm . . . They are doing their homework in the van. They have been very disciplined and organised, and I amreally proud of them but it has been tough on them,’’ Hezinger said.
The club’s top age group contenders Noel Bisson and Sophie Fairbairn are competing in two weeks in the South Island championships at Timaru.
The rest of the club is preparing for the Queenstown Early Bird Meet in three weeks’ time.
Hezinger is hoping when the Wanaka Pool reopens there will be a chance for a three-day swim camp in the holidays to get the youngsters back up to speed before the fourth school term.
Queenstown Lakes District Council general manager operations Ruth Stokes said last week everything was on track for reopening at the end of the first week in October, although the date was still to be confirmed.
A consent for structural strengthening work should begin this week, which would take about a week. Routine annual maintenance would also be done.
Wanaka councillor Lyal Cocks said last week the council was hoping to fast-track the consultation process to bring a new aquatic centre forward to stage one of the Three Parks sports facilities.
The process was a legal requirement and would include a special council meeting.
Early birds: Wanaka swimming coach Fi Hezinger (front) and her Aspiring Swimmers squad at Cromwell Pool. They are looking forward to returning to the Wanaka pool when it reopens next month.