The Pool Man Adelaide – Following his transformation from pool refusenik to evangelist of aquatic beauty, Benjamin Law asks: is swimming Australia’s version of baptism?
In Australia, you are only expected to know how to swim. It makes sense: more than four out of five Australians live within easy walking or driving distance of the coast. As author Anna Funder recently put it about the world’s driest continent at home: “We’re stuck on the edge of the continent, and we’ve been swimming since we were young.”
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Growing up, I hated swimming – it was scary because I didn’t just grow up in Australia, I grew up in Queensland: the sunshine state where Olympic gods like Kieran Perkins, Susie O’Neill, Grant Hackett and Stephanie He gave us rice. , a state where the main industries were sugar, coal, and water supply.
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My parents were Cantonese immigrants from Hong Kong who, in the 1970s, moved to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It still seems like a complicated decision to me, considering no one can swim. The water forced them and they and their five children were born in Australia.
While other people found amazing beaches, we found a better way to die. People have said that acne can kill you. The ocean can kill you. Skin cancer can kill you. Ironically, white people don’t always tell us these things, some white people seem to
‘You didn’t just have to know how to swim; Hope you are well. “Prince Alfred Park, Sydney Pool. Photo: Josef Nalevansky/City of Sydney
The best option was a public pool. Years of safety campaigns on TV had convinced mom that we had to know how to swim, because she sure as hell couldn’t save us if we drowned. In the summer, we cried when our mother took us to a recreation center near the city near the school. I guess we dreaded those lessons, just as our teachers dreaded teaching us, those desperate Asian kids frolicking anxiously in the fox pool, those houses that smelled of chemicals, dirt, and wet bugs (or pooches, or swimmers). , or swimmers – depending on your situation) ..
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When the nightmares were over, we’d sit together – Redskin (Australians describe our racism and spice), an ice cream or a pack of frogs – before falling asleep in a full Ford Cortina, hair combing at our temples, seat belts on. wrapped around us. leather and hands full of orange powder in Twisties we stole between us.
Despite the chlorine pool, Sydney’s indoor pools are also fun: Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic Center and Ian Thorpe Aquatic Center Photos: Katherine Griffiths / Josef Nalevansky / City of Sydney
This tragedy did not end. At school, not only were swimming lessons compulsory, there was also a carnival – every year, the school’s swimming leaders met, it was fun but very competitive. We had school supplies that we had to buy from the same store.
During the course, I watched white children dip and paint in the water with beautiful feet that looked like they were made for this job. Meanwhile, in the 1st or 6th row—where I could still hold on to the wall—I’d have a useless wind, my hands would hit the water like a bowl. There is a direct, inverse relationship between the amount of spray I make and the distance I make.
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In the swimming carnival, all the outcasts are united: a fat-free beach kid (me); Healthy children have more body fat. We have to swim at the party –
What happened – so we will make a new race, on hot trunks, wet with chlorine and shame, meet, as everyone cheered and laughed at us.
But, surprisingly, I loved swimming. I left home for university, moved to Brisbane and plunged into the chaos of building a shared house. Her design was… not. It got hot in the summer, then it fell.
In the hot weather, my companions and I left our rooms with little sleep and good looks. I survived the heat in the Olympic pool at the bottom of the mountain. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside was clean and tidy, with a panoramic view of the city skyline. I didn’t have the right boots so I hid in a box of black boxes, hoping no one would notice. After a while I swam.
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Cities Guardian is devoting a week to exploring the opportunities and challenges of Australia’s fastest growing cities. The country of about 25 million people has one of the fastest growing populations of any OECD country, mainly in the largest cities: Sydney and Melbourne. But with cars, sprawling cities and inadequate housing threatening “life” as it is known, are they ready to face it? Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and Brisbane are facing similar problems, while across the country, poor Aboriginal councils are a growing urban problem. Australian Cities Week, in partnership with Guardian Australia, seeks to highlight and celebrate the culture, architecture, wildlife and traditions that make these cities unique and desirable places to live.
Alan, the pool manager, took pity on me. “Instead of putting your hands in the water like this,” he said, “extend this way and turn your whole body.” Instead of breathing like that, slow down and you won’t lose your breath as quickly. ” It was homework, and I always liked homework. Slowly, I got faster.
When I moved to Sydney, I had the right Speedos, sunglasses and sunglasses. I signed up for a 1km beach swim. In some ways it looked like I had pecs. Who was this person?
It helped that Sydney has – hands down – the best lap roofs in the world.
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Even Sydney’s indoor pool – which I usually avoid because of the claustrophobic chlorine pong – is fun.
Every public indoor pool in the city is amazing in one way or another. My pool, the Prince Alfred Park Pool, is an award-winning architectural wonder built into the mountainside – like a recreational swimming pool.
It’s impossible to get a bad photo from Sydney’s North Olympic pool, with the reward for finishing camp being endless Instagram-ready photos of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, towering over the pool like a CGI salute.
On the other side of the bay, Andrew “Boy” Charlton’s pool is in the middle of a botanical garden, decked out as a restaurant and boasting so many loud men in Speedos, it looks like you’re in a Kylie video. Peace Minogue.
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Even Sydney’s indoor pool – which I usually avoid because of the claustrophobic chlorine pool – is fun. The dreamy finish, flanked by the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Center (the first Sydney pool I swam in) is Harry Seidler’s original, modern concrete and steel windmill rising out of Darling Harbour. The Cook + Phillip Aquatic and Fitness Center features large paintings by Archibald winner Wendy Sharpe, and is one of the places to tour the art gallery.
All about sea bathing for a spiritual experience. On good days, you can swim with schools of fish at Wylie Baths
For a spiritual experience, it’s all about sea bathing. On good days, you can swim with schools of fish at Wylie Baths in Coogee. There’s a reason people rave about the Bondi Icebergs, with its sauna that overlooks the violent underbelly.
And although I’ll never visit, I love the idea of McIver’s Ladies Baths of Coogee, the last remaining saltwater pool in Australia. It is apparently very popular among monks, Muslim women and lesbians; I like to think about the unexpected friendships that were made there.
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Is it too much to say that swimming is Australia’s version of baptism? To me, this place feels sacred; swim in them to holiness. When I see writers, I get excited. When I need time, I fish. When I need to be together, I go fishing. When I’m down, I’m fishing. When I’m happy, I fish.
Last Christmas, my siblings and I – who all swam as kids – laughed that our oldest was a regular swimmer. All four of us were allowed to swim regularly in the pool.
Those Asian kids at school who were so bad at carnival swimming that they weren’t always accepted? Well, some of them have grown up and are now swimming. Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Reddit Share to Flipboard Share to Email Comments
Two attractive men online after discovering each other at a Las Vegas pool. The fun part? They look good.
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The two men went viral on Reddit, with less than 100,000 views on the photo in less than a week, and for good reason. Standing side by side, it’s hard to tell the difference.
In fact, they look so much alike that left-wing doppelganger Sean McArdle says he’s now certain “we’re definitely in a duplicate.”
“Today I swam on my ‘doppelseaner’ at the Flamingo pool in Vegas,” she captioned the photo. Both men played sports