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pwb
October 19th, 2009, 07:07 PM
Crazy idea: I've got a 7 hour layover in Heathrow on two occasions. As much as I like the new T5, 7 hours is a bit much. I want to get out of Heathrow and find a pool in which to grab a swim, ideally making use of public transit and ideally with generous mid-day lap swimming hours. I know of pools out in Reading area, but that's too far.

Anyone with any recommendations?

TRYM_Swimmer
October 19th, 2009, 09:17 PM
Don't know if it is the closest, but it's 5 stops on the Piccadilly line from T5 (Hounslow East) and a 20 minute walk. (About 30 minutes each way.)


Heston Pool

New Heston Road
Heston
TW5 0LW
Tel: 0845 456 6675
Email: hounslow@fusion-lifestyle.com


http://www.hounslow-leisure.com/leisure-facilities-heston.html

chaos
October 20th, 2009, 01:41 AM
not real close to heathrow, and not even a pool but the serpentine swim club, since 1864, meets and swims in hyde park every day. quite a bunch of characters, and if you do show up, you must bring some mc vitties with dark chocolate for post swim tea! the water will be cold... it was about 58 on sept 21 when terry and i dropped in on them.

i can put you in touch with a friend who is a member and also coaches some swimmers at eaton. pm me if you are interested.

http://www.serpentineswimmingclub.com/

Ripple
October 20th, 2009, 08:08 AM
Isleworth Recreation Center is about 10k from Heathrow. No idea if there's public transit, but bus service is pretty good there, and there'll be lots of taxis.
Cross-referencing West London pools on Swimmers Guide with online maps might get you some ideas.
http://www.swimmersguide.com/
http://www.hounslow-leisure.com/leisure-facilities-isleworth.html

TRYM_Swimmer
October 20th, 2009, 10:59 AM
not real close to heathrow, and not even a pool but the serpentine swim club, since 1864, meets and swims in hyde park every day. quite a bunch of characters, and if you do show up, you must bring some mc vitties with dark chocolate for post swim tea! the water will be cold... it was about 58 on sept 21 when terry and i dropped in on them.

i can put you in touch with a friend who is a member and also coaches some swimmers at eaton. pm me if you are interested.

http://www.serpentineswimmingclub.com/

I was not aware of that club. I worked in London from 77-80 and used to swim on my own (except for the occasional accompanying duck) in the Serpentine early in the morning before work (only in the Summer!). I used those workouts to prepare for the mile and half-mile races in the River Thames conducted by my London club, Otter Swim Club. Great memories!

chaos
October 20th, 2009, 11:04 AM
I was not aware of that club. I worked in London from 77-80 and used to swim on my own (except for the occasional accompanying duck) in the Serpentine early in the morning before work (only in the Summer!).

the serps have some kind of race every week, from fancy dress to polar bear sprints...... wacky brits!

pwb
October 20th, 2009, 07:33 PM
Thanks for the advice.


Heston / Hounslow pool looks like the most convenient choice, but I'm also going to check more into Isleworth
If I can figure out a cost & time efficient way to make it, I read about a recent upgrade to one of the few 50M pools in the greater London area, the Crystal Palace National Sports Center. It sounds wonderful, but is probably 1.5 hour ride one way by various forms of public transit. Not sure I want to risk missing my flight for a swim. I contemplated renting a car as that would be cheaper than a taxi, but $80 for a ~5 hour car rental for a ~1 hour swim is too insane even for me.
Chaos -- I considered training with the Serps last summer as I spent 3 weeks working between London and Reading, but I wimped out for fear of the cold. When I get enough guts to pursue my English Channel bucket list item, I'll definitely need to do that!

Has anyone swum at the Gurnell Leisure Center -- looks like another 50M pool (tho likely set up as 2 x 25 SCM) that's only a little more of a trek than Heston.

TRYM_Swimmer
October 21st, 2009, 12:25 PM
I wouldn't even think of a car in London. It would probably take you longer in total time than public transport, unless you already know how to get to Crystal Palace (which I understand is a great pool). Then there is parking, etc.

Good luck, whatever you try. Let us know how it turned out.

Ripple
October 21st, 2009, 08:54 PM
There is a toll you have to pay if you drive into the core of London. I don't know where the north boundary is, the south boundary is the Thames. The idea is to discourage private automobiles from entering.

pwb
October 21st, 2009, 09:03 PM
I wouldn't even think of a car in London. It would probably take you longer in total time than public transport, unless you already know how to get to Crystal Palace (which I understand is a great pool). Then there is parking, etc.

Good luck, whatever you try. Let us know how it turned out.


There is a toll you have to pay if you drive into the core of London. I don't know where the north boundary is, the south boundary is the Thames. The idea is to discourage private automobiles from entering.

I'm comfortable driving around the suburbs of London, but definitely wouldn't venture in. Crystal Palace appears to be in the south suburbs and I might be able to avoid the congestion fee. It's a moot point, though, given that the daily cheapest rental car is going to cost me $80. I'd have to commit to like an 8,000M workout for me to even begin to approach getting my $$ worth.

I'm still toying with the idea of Heston Pool ... except now I'm worried about the safety of my laptop in the pool lockers. (I had a laptop and my passport stolen in the greater London area from a car in 2006 ... not an experience I wish to repeat).

chaos
October 21st, 2009, 10:54 PM
I'm still toying with the idea of Heston Pool ... except now I'm worried about the safety of my laptop in the pool lockers. (I had a laptop and my passport stolen in the greater London area from a car in 2006 ... not an experience I wish to repeat).

you could prob check your valuables with the airline and travel about lite.

nhc
October 22nd, 2009, 12:32 AM
What about an airport hotel, they should have pools?:)

NotVeryFast
October 22nd, 2009, 09:26 PM
Crystal Palace is a horrible place to drive to, I hate going there and I live within 10 miles of it! You can't just turn up and swim, public swimming is limited to specific times, so you'd need to contact them to see if there are any public lanes available while you're here. I honestly wouldn't recommend it.

In general, for UK pools, you need to check the pool timetable to work out when you will be able to get a decent swim, and even then the situation in practice may not be what you expect. For example, a session that is advertised as adult lane swimming could be the whole pool split into lanes, or it might just be one or two lanes where fast swimmers have to battle with head up breaststrokers.

While I live fairly near Heathrow, I'm not familiar with any of the closest pools. As an example, there is a pool in Staines:
http://www.everyoneactive.com/Home/tabid/1055/default.aspx?centreid=1758&resourceid=0624d86e-e8a9-4cc3-a651-5320779ad511

You can see from that timetable that it is probably a waste of time trying to go there at any time other than 06:00-09:00, and 12:00-13:30, with some possibilities 21:00-22:30. My general experience is that it can be a lottery unless you know how busy a particular pool tends to be. If you were to post on www.swimclub.co.uk, there will probably be people familiar with some of the pools close to Heathrow and they might be able to advise on times when you can get a decent swim.

Gdavis
October 23rd, 2009, 05:18 PM
Depending on the timing of your layover you might be able to swim at the St Paul's school with the team based there (which I used to swim with). It is not a public pool so you would need to arrange it with the teacher/coach. He is a little crazy but a HUGE masters swimming supporter. He would enjoy having a super high quality swimmer like you drop by for a visit. The pool can be reached by public transport (Piccadilly line to Hammersmith) easily from Heathrow. If this is of interest, PM me and I will try to put you in touch.
NVF, do you think we should try putting PWB in touch with Dunc, as he knows the west of London scene?

(PS Though, the times of regular workouts probably won't work, you be able to swim by prior arrangement around the lunch hour.)
http://www.stpaulsbarnessc.com/
Bracknell and Maidenhead are locations on the west side of Heathrow with pools/clubs.

Chicken of the Sea
October 23rd, 2009, 07:22 PM
I swam with the Otters in London last summer!!
Had no idea there was a swim club at the Serpentine, but used to walk by there very often and saw people swimming. There's so much duck/goose poop in the water though. :afraid:

chaos
October 23rd, 2009, 07:29 PM
There's so much duck/goose poop in the water though. :afraid:

the serp water fowl are very polite about pooping, and always take their business elsewhere or so i've been told.

aztimm
October 24th, 2009, 12:55 AM
I swam with the Otters in London last summer!!


I've also swam with the Otter swim team, they're a great group, if their times work. During the week, they swim mostly at either Queen Mother Sports Centre (near Victoria Station) or Guy's Hospital (close to the London Bridge Tube stop). I found a thread on TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k2002902-How_to_get_to_Victoria_Station_from_Heathrow-London_England.html) with directions to Victoria station.

Even if you don't swim with them, I'd shoot the Otter group an email, let them know your story, and they'll probably recommend something.

pwb
October 24th, 2009, 10:10 AM
Crystal Palace is a horrible place to drive to, I hate going there and I live within 10 miles of it! You can't just turn up and swim, public swimming is limited to specific times, so you'd need to contact them to see if there are any public lanes available while you're here. I honestly wouldn't recommend it.

In general, for UK pools, you need to check the pool timetable to work out when you will be able to get a decent swim, and even then the situation in practice may not be what you expect. For example, a session that is advertised as adult lane swimming could be the whole pool split into lanes, or it might just be one or two lanes where fast swimmers have to battle with head up breaststrokers.

While I live fairly near Heathrow, I'm not familiar with any of the closest pools. As an example, there is a pool in Staines:
http://www.everyoneactive.com/Home/tabid/1055/default.aspx?centreid=1758&resourceid=0624d86e-e8a9-4cc3-a651-5320779ad511

You can see from that timetable that it is probably a waste of time trying to go there at any time other than 06:00-09:00, and 12:00-13:30, with some possibilities 21:00-22:30. My general experience is that it can be a lottery unless you know how busy a particular pool tends to be. If you were to post on www.swimclub.co.uk (http://www.swimclub.co.uk), there will probably be people familiar with some of the pools close to Heathrow and they might be able to advise on times when you can get a decent swim.

Thanks for the advice, especially re: Crystal Palace. When I'm in the UK, our office is out in Theale, so I usually have just stayed in Reading and swim at the pool in the center of town. I get what you're saying about trying to find a good setup to workout, though, as I've generally found myself in crowded lanes and just swimming straight versus getting in sets. That works for me when I'm traveling.

I'll post on the swimclub site, though, and see what advice comes up. I figured this was a bit of a wild card ... have you ever swum at the Porchester Centre near Paddington? The pool looks decent enough and I could get there easily and I might be able to combine a swim with meeting up with a friend who works near there after his work there for a pint!

Chicken of the Sea
October 24th, 2009, 08:43 PM
This is no help at all for Heathrow, but the Hilton Stansted hotel has possibly the only pool in the world with a curved lap lane.

The Seymour Leisure Centre in Marylebone (right near Baker St station) has a beautiful antique swimming pool, but the water is super hot.