Swimmers young and old dusted off their cossies as pools reopened across Blacktown City after months of lockdown closures.
Outdoor swimming pools at four of Blacktown City’s leisure and aquatic centres opened their doors bright and early on Monday, 27 September after the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions.
The outdoor pools at Blacktown Aquatic Centre, Charlie Lowles Leisure Centre Emerton, Mount Druitt Swimming Centre and Riverstone Swimming Centre welcomed back swimmers under strict COVID safety plans.
Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM said the reopening of outdoor pools was a major win for residents.
“I welcome the easing of restrictions to allow our City’s residents to cool off in the pool after months spent living under strict lockdown rules,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“I watched in disappointment as Sydneysiders in areas such as Bondi were allowed to head to the beach, but people in Blacktown City were left to swelter in the heat.
“This is a fantastic day and to celebrate, Council waived the entrance fee for Monday’s opening day.”
Lap swimming and recreational swimming are permitted; however, restrictions remain in place for activities such as squad training, swim classes and aqua aerobics. Council’s indoor swimming pools also remain closed.
Mayor Bleasdale was hopeful Public Health Orders would soon allow squad training and swimming lessons to take place at outdoor pools.
Among the keen swimmers who lined up early to get back in the water was Kings Langley swimming star Timothy Hodge, who marked his first swim since returning from the 2020 Paralympic Games at Blacktown Aquatic Centre.
Timothy was a proud ambassador for Blacktown City in Tokyo and a dominant force in the pool, winning silver in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley (S9) and the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay (43 points), as well as bronze in the Men’s 100m Backstroke (S9).
“To have the pools back open again and to be able to go for a swim at your local pool is a great boost for the public,” Timothy said.
“Swimming is a great form of exercise – it’s very low stress on your bones – and it’s great for people of all ages.”
In accordance with NSW Health guidelines, outdoor pools will be open to all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Patrons can only visit pools within 5 km of their home or in their Council area and must carry proof of address.
At all times when out of the water, current outdoor gathering rules will apply, i.e. a maximum 2 unvaccinated people in a group or a maximum 5 vaccinated people in a group, but masks may be removed while swimming.
Due to capacity limits, patrons are encouraged to book in advance – either online at https://bit.ly/3kClDXS, over the phone or in person at the centre.
Opening times for outdoor pools are as follows:
– Blacktown Aquatic Centre: Monday to Friday 5:30 am to 7:30 pm, Saturday 6 am to 5 pm and Sunday 8 am to 5 pm
– Riverstone Swimming Centre: Monday to Sunday 9 am to 6 pm
– Mount Druitt Swimming Centre: Monday to Sunday 9 am to 6 pm
– Charlie Lowles Leisure Centre Emerton: Monday to Sunday 9 am to 6 pm
Picture: Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM with Kings Langley Paralympic swimming star Timothy Hodge and rising swimming star Riley Welch.