There was a real sense of excitement when the new Annette Kellermann Aquatic Centre opened its doors for the first time yesterday. Locals streamed into the indoor complex which includes an 8-lane, 50 metre pool, a children’s leisure pool and a hydrotherapy and program pool.
Some just came to have a look; others, especially the children couldn’t wait to get in the water. There were squeals of delight throughout the $18 million facility. Little ones and big ones loved the wading pool with cascading water spouts raining down on them.
There was standing room-only in the middle-sized program pool where mums and dads played with their kids or watched them as they duck-dived through each other’s legs, did handstands or floated about on noodles and kickboards. In the 50-metre pool there was just as much fun happening with boys and girls diving off the blocks, bombing and flipping, while a few adults lapped up and down the pool.
It’s a much improved version of the old Enmore Pool (closed in July 2009) with better ventilation and loads of natural light beaming in through large areas of glass throughout. The creative use of colour gives the centre an atmosphere of fun, daring and diversity, which seems to fit well with the character of the inner west community.As Sue from Leichhardt said: “It feels like Marrickville. It is a reflection of Marrickville with all the different types of people (who live here). I like the feel of it. It has a villagey atmosphere not like the big city pools that seem more corporate.”
Another plus for Sue is the hot showers and that it’s not a ‘poser pool’. “You don’t have to feel self conscious here,” she said.
Long-time Enmore residents’ Merle and Thelma also dropped in for a look. While Merle has been a keen swimmer in the past she said these days she can get into a pool but has trouble getting out.
Tempted to return to the water after seeing the new complex, Merle said: “I think I could still get into my cossie.” With disabled access in both the Olympic-size pool and the program pool, we might see Merle and Thelma back in the swim.
As well as the aquatic facilities, the centre has a pleasant outdoor sitting area with tables and chairs with umbrellas, which overlooks lovely Enmore Park. There is also a grassy area where a few teenage girls lay on their towels and enjoyed a chat in the sun.
All-in-all the centre is a great addition to the Marrickville Municipality. Annette Kellermann, the Marrickville-born swimmer, aquatic performer and film actress would be proud to have it bear her name.
The Annette Kellermann Aquatic Centre is located in Black Street, Marrickville. It is open from 6am-8pm Monday to Thursday, 6am-6.30pm on Saturdays and from 8am-6.30pm on Sundays.