by Stephen Black

So, you may have heard by now that we – the community – own Baltimore Pool and Leisure Centre. After five challenging years, we have completed phase one and can look forward to many year of indoor swimming and gym workouts in our own community facility.

Of course, it will come as no surprise that more work and funding is required to undertake phases two, three and four: the decoration, renovation and updating of the building, gym and general infrastructure, and ultimately, the pool itself, perhaps.

So please tell your family and friends about our good news, keep your membership up-to-date and continue to support us in our ongoing endeavours.

But first, let’s remind ourselves why we worked so hard to keep the show on the road when the hotel closed down. Just why did so many people donate so much time, money and effort over the last five years?

People of all ages use the pool for training, leisure and relaxation, for recuperation from illness or injury, and to meet family and friends whilst exercising. How many opportunities exist for three or even four generations of a family to exercise together indoors?

Old dogs can learn new tricks too you know. It’s true! Most long-distance swimmers started their hobby later in life. Quite often you will find people are forced to give up GAA, soccer, rugby and other high-impact activities due to wear and tear and the natural aging process – they naturally gravitate to pursuits like wild swimming.

Swimming is a perfect substitute no matter what level you are at. Many long-distance swimmers are in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even older. Our Oceans 7 Champion, Steve Redmond, retired from rugby and took up swimming in his 40s. He used the Baltimore pool as part of his rigorous training programme and became a world-famous marathon swimmer in just three years!

In Training

Other adults are in training to swim the Straits of Gibraltar this summer. They do all their winter training in our pool before returning to Loch Hyne in the summer months.

You are never too old to set goals for your swimming whether you are getting your face wet for the first time, attemtping to master bilateral breathing, or being introduced to the joys of wild swimming, which is, apparently the world’s fastest growing sport.

I have swam in events in many countries since becoming interested in my mid-30s. Now in my mid-50s, I look forward to trying ice swimming and some more long distance events around the world. None of this would be possible if there was no Baltimore pool to train in.

When you come to Baltimore Community Leisure Centre, please remember that other swimmers will only be too pleased to assist you in setting and achieving your goals and aspirations.

Many swimmers have asked me for advice or training hints and some of them are now better swimmers than me. Fantastic!

After learning the basics of front crawl, you could aspire to swim across Lough Hyne in the summer with the “Loch Hyne Lappers,” or gear up to the Sherkin to Baltimore Swim, which takes place during the month of October. I promise you, as sports go, wild swimming will grow on you.

In the meantime, don’t forget that we need to continue to invest in our facility if we are to ensure that it will be enjoyed by our children and our grandchildren.

Please keep your membership up-to-date and encourage others to join too. We also would be grateful for any fundraising ideas you might have. Please tell them to the gang on reception, or call 028 20622.



This article was originally published in the Southern Star on March 8th, 2014. Author: Stephen Black.