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Wyndly Swimming Baths (Sutton Coldfield)

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Wyndly swimming baths in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham

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      13.10.2011 21:35
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      A good swimming facility for all

      Wyndly Swimming Baths, Sutton Coldfield. Having lived in Sutton Coldfield almost all of my life I have enjoyed many trips to our local swimming baths as it is located around a mile from home and it was also the swimming baths that the schools used as I was growing up. *** About Wyndly *** Wyndly Swimming Baths are owned and run by Birmingham City Council. The swimming baths first opened in 1970 and apart from a recent refurbishment lasting around 18 months due to asbestos being found in the roof they have remained open and almost unchanged. They are located just outside the heart of Sutton Coldfield on Clifton Road. From the town centre it is around a 15 minute walk to the baths or 5 minutes by car. There are local buses that stop near the baths too, the route numbers are 66, 68A and 68C *** Car Park *** There is a large car park at Wyndly, it is so large because it is shared with the leisure centre next door. Upon entering the car park you will drive up to a barrier and be given a ticket. When they first introduced this barrier and ticket system I was ready to change my swimming baths to another as I didn't want to have to pay to park, however I soon found out that if you are using the swimming facilities or the leisure centre then your ticket will be validated and you wont have to pay. They introduced the barrier system as so many people were using the car park for free parking instead of paying in the town centre. If you park to the left of the car park as you enter it this will be closer to the swimming baths and the path, so safer if you are taking children with you. *** Reception Area *** As you walk through the entrance to Wyndly the reception area is to the left of you. There are usually one or two members of staff on the desk and I have always found them to be smiley and polite. On the reception desk there are usually a few different leaflets advertising events, lessons and the pool timetables. Behind the desk there is quite a large range of swimming accessories available to buy if you have forgotten anything and from what I have seen the prices look the same as what I have seen in sports shops, although I have never bought anything from here. *** Changing Facilities *** From the reception area you will go down some stairs to the changing areas. The female changing is straight ahead and the male to the right. The female changing area is a good size with a choice of small cubicles for changing alone or larger ones if you have children with you. There is also a communal area for changing and a small play pen to keep your little ones safe while you change. There are toilets which are usually of a good standard for cleanliness and showers which are of a good standard too. The floor is regularly cleaned and hosed down to help prevent those nasty little swimming pool bugs like veruccas and athletes foot at bay. There is a large mirror for sorting your hair out after your swim and a couple of hand dryers to give your hair a bit of a dry off too. As you enter the changing area you need to pick up a plastic box to place your belongings in as there are no lockers. As you leave the changing area to go to the pool there is a counter to give your box to the attendant who will then place it on a shelving system and give you a rubber wristband to wear. This system has always been in place at Wyndly and so far I have never had any problems with regards to safety of my things. I have left my purse and watch in there many times. To get your items back, simply hand the band back to the attendant and they will bring your box back for you. *** The Pools *** There are two pools at Wyndly. The smaller pool also known as the baby or teaching pool is shallow and it is also heated slightly. There are steps leading into the pool to gradually bring a slight depth into it. I'm not sure of the exact depth but I am 5ft 1 and when I stand in the deepest part of the small pool it only comes up to my shoulders. I used to enjoy the smaller pool because it was warm, however as I have now grown up I find the small pool is a little to small for me to enjoy a proper swim in. The main pool is apparently also heated but I have never noticed this and as a consequence of knowing the water is always cold I have got into the habit of leaving the changing area and doing a quick running jump into the deep end of the pool. The main pool used to be one large 'L' shape, with just the diving area sectioned off, however since the refurb it is now divided by a ugly looking plastic wall into two separate areas, a 25 metre deep water pool for lanes swimming and the diving area. The other part is a 22 metre pool with the deepest end being 1.5 metres. My personal opinion of this is change it back please! I think the pool was much better before the plastic wall, I used to enjoy the long swim from the shallow end all the way up to the deep end and then climb out and practice diving in off the edge of the pool. Also when the pool was this way around the diving area was open more often and this was a big attraction for me, not because I can dive because I can't, I am good at belly flops though! The pools themselves I have always found to be kept clean, nothing dodgy or unusual in them, there is the occasional floating plaster but I have noticed life guards fishing these out if they see them. I have been going swimming here all of my life and I can happily say that so far I have never caught any ear infections, athletes foot or verruccas so I would say this is a good sign of the high hygiene levels being maintained. *** Diving Boards *** The main pool has 3 diving boards in a sectioned off area. They are set at 1 metre, 3 metres and 5 metres high. The 1 metre and 3 metres are both diving boards and the top one at 5 metres is a concrete ledge. I have been off all 3 boards, admittedly it took me until I was about 15 to get brave and go off the top one and I have only been off it about 3 or 4 times since! Of course it isn't because I am a chicken or anything, it is because the time from leaving the concrete ledge and hitting the water is too long and I get bored! Honest! Unfortunately the diving area is only open at certain times as the rest of the time the area is being used for lanes separated from the main pool. When the diving area is open it always has at least two life guards keeping a very close eye on things. *** Spectators *** Above the main pool there is a large spectators area. This is mainly used when a gala or event is being held, however you can go and sit there and watch the pool when it is just a regular swimming session. The spectator area is accessible from the main reception area. I have been in this area a few times, mainly watching my friend in swimming galas and although I like to support her I can honestly say I hate the spectator area. The seating feels very steep and is looking down on the pool below and I find the height a little daunting. This is unusual as I am not usually too bothered by heights unless, it seems, I am looking down on water. Other than the height and the steepness the spectator area isn't too bad at all really, the seats are plastic, but they are alright and don't give you a numb bum! *** Wheelchair access *** To get from the reception area to the changing area there is a lift available for those in a wheelchair or who simply cannot use the stairs. This lift is always available, however I am told that you must have a member of staff present while using the lift. The floor from the changing areas to the pool side is all flat so no problems with access to the pool either. *** Prices *** The prices at Wyndly are reasonable, for an adult it will cost you £3.70, a child is £2.30 or if you are going as a family the family Swim is £9.10, I presume the family swim consists of 2 adults and 2 children but I'm not 100% sure as I've never purchased it. Under 4's are lucky and can swim for free. The swimming baths participate in the Passport to leisure card which offers discounts on exercise sessions including swimming. Discounts of up to 50% are available at certain times if you have a passport to leisure card. *** Other Facilities *** There used to be a nice little cafe area next to the reception area where you could buy a nice little box of chips or choose from a selection of sandwiches, this used to be an enjoyable part of going swimming and looking forward to the chips afterwards, not too healthy I know. However, the council, in their wisdom, decided when they refurbished the baths to get rid of the cafe and replace it with a selection of around 5 or 6 different vending machines selling sweets, chocolate and energy drinks. Hmm... now I wonder which is healthier? The seating area with tables from the cafe still remains, however it hardly seems used since the hot food has gone. The seating area over looks both the teaching pool and the main pool through some large windows. This I don't find as daunting as the spectator area even though the height is the same. Wyndly offers swimming lessons for all ages as well as aqua aerobics and aqua tone. I haven't taken part in these classes, but I did have swimming lessons here when I was about 5 years old. The lessons were good from what I remember, I used to enjoy going and collecting the badges to sew on my costume and 13 years on I can swim pretty well so I think the lessons were a success! My little brother who is now 8 also took lessons here and he is a very confident swimmer so they must still be successful. *** Overall *** Overall I will happily recommend Wyndly for a nice swim. Saturdays are not so nice as the pool seems to be overrun with children, teenagers and adults, along with a lot of floats and inflatable's. I would like to see the cafe brought back as this used to be a popular feature and now the area just seems deserted. Thanks for reading :)

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