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Travails of a Non-Swimmer

At the Yokohama International Swimming Pool

There’s a strong typhoon outside right now. The wind has been howling since early morning, with rain beating at the windows. So it was a good thing we decided to go the pool yesterday. Some (poorly shot) photos I took with my tablet:

Yokohama International Arena

A Pool for All

It’s one of the most popular pools for both competitive and recreational swimming in my city: the Yokohama International Swimming Pool.

Yokohama International Swimming Pool. Photo courtesy of Taisei Corporation.

Yokohama International Swimming Pool. Photo courtesy of Taisei Kensetsu.

This international-standard swimming pool facility was designed and built by Taisei Corporation, one of the largest construction firms in Japan. They’re the go-to for putting up large public infrastructure, with bridges and airports and island-sized aquariums to their name.

Views of the pool facilities. Photos courtesy of Yokohama International Swimming Pool.

Views of the pool facilities. Photos courtesy of Yokohama International Swimming Pool.

While international swimming competitions held at the pool are often broadcast on TV, I’ve never actually been there to watch one live. When there are no swim meets, however, the facility is open to the public. I’ve been there to swim for fun, and one of the first things I realized is that 50m is rather long! It always looks like a short distance during a 50m on TV, by competitive swimmers. Being used to the 25m pool at the gym, I was quite awed by how the lanes went on and on 🙂

Clean, spacious and bright are a given for international pools, and this one in Yokohama is no exception. I also like the fact that there’s a nice place to eat within the building, hehe.

Water Arena Restaurant at Yokohama

I took the photos above at said restaurant. The menu choices aren’t that many but popular lunch dishes in Japan (like curry, hamburger with rice, fried pork cutlets, pasta, rice omelet, etc) are available. There’s a very reasonably priced drink bar, too, so the thirsty ones can do a drink-all-you-can.

So Nicely Spacious

I love swimming here, and wish it was closer to home. It’s just huge. The locker room’s huge. The pool ceiling is high, high above. According to the people counter, there were around a hundred men and 50 women in the 50m main pool, but it didn’t feel crowded. The 25m subpool, with a shallow depth adjusted for small children, and students practicing their jump offs on a deep area, was more crowded. Still, despite it being a weekend it didn’t feel anywhere near as stuffed as any of the gym pools or community pools that I’ve used before.

Maybe that’s just because the place is huge.

Huge is good. You hardly get bumped or inadvertently bump someone. You can practice drills without worrying that you are getting in another swimmer’s way. The pool was divided so that there were two, spacious 25m practice areas for those learning to swim. The rest of the 50m lanes were divided into “Slow Swimmers” and “Fast Swimmers”.

I spent some time getting a feel for the water in the practice area. It’s been a while since I swam. I was certain I hadn’t forgotten how; it’s just that I was rusty and due to lack of exercise I didn’t have the strength nor endurance.

In the end, I spent about an hour and a half in the water. I didn’t drill systematically, and my weak side was worse than ever. But it was really good to be in the water after a long, dry spell.

The 50m Challenge

My 50m challenge was to get on the slow lane and swim there. I went for the backstroke because it’s still the one stroke I could swim without needing to take a break. I did 200m before getting up to leave as my two-hour ticket was up.

I really, really need to get back on a weekly swimming regimen. I wish I could use the Yokohama International Swimming Pool on a regular basis, but it’s nearly an hour away by car. Will have to use the smaller ones closer to home, and then perhaps “treat” myself to the international arena at the end of each month. My goal would be to swim there in the fast lane (all the while pretending I’m an Olympic athlete! :))

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