New pool hosting almost 10,000 visitors each month

Everything at the new Wanaka Pool is going swimmingly, says Wanaka Recreation Centre team leader...
Everything at the new Wanaka Pool is going swimmingly, says Wanaka Recreation Centre team leader Penny Batchelor, as the number of visits continues to increase. Photo: Sean Nugent
The doors to the Wanaka Pool are swinging open close to 10,000 times a month, and that number is continuing to increase.

The long-awaited $12.8million facility opened in June, and in the  five months since, its popularity has steadily increased.

In October, there were 9511 visits to the pool, a 12.5% increase from the 8458 visits in September.

While its popularity can sometimes lead to the pool being full, Wanaka Recreation Centre manager Jason Lawless believed it was a good sign.

"The user groups are really starting to take advantage of the pool which does create pressure, although that is good because that’s why it was built."

"Sometimes in the peak periods it is full, but after about 6pm it’s pretty quiet. There are these windows of opportunity for people if they’re willing to be flexible."

More and more activities continue to be introduced, such as aquajogging and flipper ball, while aquamats, a new phenomenon where people stand on specifically-designed mats in the pool, are on their way.

The centre’s team leader Penny Batchelor said the opportunities to introduce new activities were endless.

"The world is our oyster really for getting programmes up and going."

Learn-to-swim school numbers were also up 50% since the pool opened, rising from 300 to over 450.

Given the prominence of water-based recreational activities in the Upper Clutha, Mr Lawless believed the increasing number of people learning to swim helped make the region a safer place.

There was more to come, he said.

"There were so many limitations with the old Wanaka Pool, which served its purpose, but what we can do with this centre we are continuing to explore."

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