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Camden First Time User Guide- Swimming

 

Everyone can enjoy swimming, regardless of your age, ability or experience. Whether you are doing it with your family or on your own, it’s great exercise for all your muscles. And because it’s low impact, it’s gentler on the joints than the gym or a fitness class.

 

Find out more: 

Planning your swim – when to swim and what to wear

Getting changed

Pool facilities

Learning to swim

Accessibility

Bringing children to the pool

Women’s only swimming

Over 60s Swimming 

Planning your swim – when to swim and what to wear

Each pool has different opening times and the programme will include swimming lessons and fitness classes which might restrict general swimming at different times. Please check the pool timetable first, to make sure you know when you can swim.

‘Swim for all’ or ‘Swim for adults’ sessions are great for those who don’t want to book their activity but just turn up and swim. You can find the pool timetable on the leisure centre webpage.

For swimming, it’s best to wear specifically designed swim-wear. For women, that’s a one-piece swimming costume, bikini, tankini or burkini. Fitted t-shirts and/or leggings worn under swimwear are also OK. For men: trunks, swim shorts, board shorts or fitted nylon leggings are a good choice.

If you intend to swim with your face underwater or concerned about getting water in your eyes, wearing goggles is a good idea.

Most of our pools sell a selection of swimwear and goggles at reception. You can also find them in most sports shops or online stores.

Getting changed

Once you’ve passed through the reception barriers, there will be signs to the changing areas. Not sure where to go? Our staff will point you in the right direction.

Depending on the pool, the changing area will either be split into male and female changing rooms or there’ll be a big room with private cubicles. Children under eight years old can get changed with their parent/guardian. Many of our pools have family changing areas, as well as accessible changing facilities.

You'll find lockers in the changing area to store your belongings while you're in the pool.


Once changed and ready to go, please take a quick shower before entering the swimming pool. Good hygiene helps us maintain clean pool water for all our customers.

Pool facilities

Every pool is different, but most are rectangular and set up with lanes. Generally separated into ‘fast’, ‘medium’ and ‘slow’ so you can swim with others of a similar speed and do laps in the same direction. Signs at the end of each lane will show you what speed each lane is and the direction to swim in. Some pool space may also be allocated for ‘general swim’ or ‘family swim’, to swim without lanes.

Pools will generally have a ‘deep’ and a ‘shallow’ end, which are clearly signposted, along with the depths marked at each point. Shallow areas tend to be around 1-1.2 metres deep and comfortable for an adult to stand with their head above water.

You'll find hooks on the wall nearby on poolside to hang towels or robes. 

Many of our pools also have a sauna, steam room or Jacuzzi.

Learning to swim

If you want to be more confident in the water, swimming lessons are a great place to start. Most of our pools include group lessons for adults in addition to the children’s learn to swim programme.

Accessibility

If you find it difficult to get into and out of the pool safely using the steps, most of our pools have equipment in place to help you. Please check information about accessibility on the leisure centre webpage.

Bringing children to the pool

Anyone aged 8 or over, who can swim 25 metres, can come swimming on their own. Kids under 8 and non-swimmers under 16 need to be accompanied by a competent adult swimmer, with no more than two children accompanied by each adult.

Women’s only swimming

Lots of our pools offer sessions specifically for women, where all lifeguards are female and the pool area is closed off entirely from men. Check the timetable on the leisure centre webpage for details of these sessions.

Over 60s Swimming

Free swimming is available for Camden residents aged 60+, weekdays 7am-12pm at our Better leisure centres with a valid Better Pay & Play membership. Residents should present their centre membership card to gain free admission.