From tiny tots splashing in the kiddie pool to a pensioner doing rehab after an operation, Wynberg swimming pool is a place of serenity and also a place of learning.
Althea Olivier started as a nipper, a junior programme that introduces children aged 8 to 14 to surf lifesaving, and she is senior lifeguard at Wynberg, training Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) recruits
Chadley Wagner is part of EPWP and took a break from laps to say he had broken his personal record of 100 metres in two minutes. When he started the programme in February, he could not swim, now he is training for the City’s lifeguard assessment in July.
According to mayoral committee member community services and health Patricia Van der Ross, being able to swim 100m in under two minutes is one of the requirements. The others are treading water (with legs only) for one minute; treading water (with arms only) for one minute; treading water (with both arms and legs) for one minute; retrieving an object from the bottom of the pool using a “head carry” technique; rescuing a patient using a wrap-around torpedo buoy; retrieving and stabilising a patient using a spinal board; and proficiency with CPR.
Facility manager Mzamo Sithole said a variety of people visited the pool, including children who walk from Parkwood and Ottery, firefighters, and pensioners who come early and swim laps.
The main pool is 30m x 20m and is 1.2m deep while the children’s pool is 11m x 7m and 0.4m deep. The two pools are divided by a fence and on the other side is play equipment and a large lawn, ideal for soccer games and picnics.
Soraya Matthews, of Pelican Park, was enjoying a picnic under trees with her children and Khaysuraan Benjamin of Bayview. Ms Matthews learnt to swim in the pool. She would go there every day during the school holidays. “I’m self-taught, my parents had no money for lessons,” she said.
Mandy de Klerk, of Parkwood, is a self-taught, freestyle swimmer who also learnt to swim at Wynberg pool as a child. Now she brings her children and their friends. “Kids must know how to swim and how to get out of the pool and relax in the water like my water babies,” she smiled.
Adeeb Majied, of Parkwood, learnt to swim at primary school. He then swam at Sea Point pool after work and enjoyed the sea views, but now uses Wynberg where he lives and works and enjoys mountain views. He said he felt much better after a swim and the stress of work disappeared. His wife, Nawaal Majied, feels the same even though she does not swim every time.
Working behind the scenes cleaning and filtering the water, is Vuyo Sidwangube. He claims the water is cleaner than water that comes from the tap and is circulating for 15 to 16 hours a day. During off-season, he is a surf lifeguard at Mnandi Lifesaving Club.
EPWP trainee Abdoesh Shakeer was sampling the water, which he said was done weekly for pathogens with regular spot checks every hour to monitor water quality.
Wynberg Swimming Pool is open daily from 10am to 5pm, entrance is R8 for adults, R2 for children and free for pensioners. The facility will close after the Easter weekend, Monday April 18 and re-open in October. Call 021 797 0747.