Good news – the traditional rec centre pool is now borrowing fun ideas from water parks and re-sparking all kinds of interest. How, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. They’re installing “lazy rivers” or “current channels” for added fun and self-driven water therapy. My pool now has a current channel, separate from the main pool, and this feature alone has motivated me to visit three times a week, both to swim laps in the regular pool and to goof around afterward in the bath-warm “river”. What a godsend!
My favoured “river” snakes around in a loosely-shaped figure eight, with overhead water sprays of varying intensity, just like the ones at the water parks. You can float on a pool noodle or exercise your lower back muscles with long strides against the current, which threatens to knock you over at every turn. What fun (not….I prefer to walk with the current). Or you can massage that aching shoulder under a punishing torrent of water. Heaven!
You might think a ‘lazy river’ is just for arthritic old fogies. This may be true in the early mornings, when we oldsters flop around in the waist-high water like aging sea lions, chatting up other fogies and comparing arthritic ailments. Who else would be at a swimming pool at 6 am?
But the lazy river isn’t just for seniors. On Saturday afternoons at our pool, there are more kids in the current channel than in the main pool. This is at least partly due to the giant overhead bucket, which slowly fills with water and then hits critical mass, tipping suddenly and dumping two tons of water on the throngs below. The kids squeal, but they love it. They circle the channel and come back for more.
I was always a reluctant swimmer, given the changing/showering/cold air aspects of it all. With the advent of the lazy river, though, I’m a convert, putting up with all the dressing and undressing for a shot at that snuggly-warm current that is the lazy river.