A traveling triathlete faces many adversities. Luggage/bike fees, accommodations, fiscal nightmares, training inadequacies, and sometimes just a simple longing for home, not to mention the depression when things go to shit. One major pain in the ass for a traveling triathlete will always encounter is swimming. Every country has its own take on swimming, how it should be done and what is considered an adequate swimming facillity; they all have their own minor and major frustrations.
In this new reviews section, I'm going to one by one expose and debunk the pros and cons of European pools, beggining with Freibad Annen in Witten. I'm clearly not in Witten Germany anymore, but I prepared this blog over and over in my mind while living the nightmare that is this pool. Now I don't sprechen ze Deutsch, but I believe freibad means outdoor pool. So that's a start, it's an outdoor pool. This is a picture from last year, but as you can see its an aesthetically sound pool and a nice facility, with a pleasing dash of ambience from the green foothills above. One tick for the freibad Annen.
Initially, being an ourdoor pool in Europe, you can expect that when the suns being dominated by the clouds (which is most of the time), that this pool is cold. While this is always going to be the case with otudoor pools in Europe, the pool is at a constant 27degrees celcius, so it's actually quite pleasing, most of the time. When the weather turns, let's just say 'typical European', the pool has some facilities to make up for the cold. So that you're not freezing your sexual organs off undressing, drying and dressing again in the open air, the freiban Annen compensates with a nice changeroom facility. Here we see this neat little trick, the changeroom where you can enter or exit the water via a hot shower.
But is a hot shower a good thing? Not when you have to pay 10cents for 30 seconds. 30 seconds of warm liquid goodness is just a teaser, which leaves you begging for more, and also begging for 10cent pieces. Who has any of these anyway? No tick here.
Staying on the fiscal topic, the freibad Annen wins in respects with pool entry. If you're sly enough you just walk in any claim you're with the local tri club and not get charged. Alternatively, you can pay a 2euro student fee. I got a 10 trip pass for 17euro. Big tick.
It would seem the pool thus far is of a high class. But what happens when you dive in the water? I have heard of German efficiency and precision, but I'm sorry, I see nothing but carelessness and callous ignorance when swimming in this pool. A big fat bratwurst sized cross for the freibad Annen here. German's need to learn some simple pool etiquette.
Freibad Annen, where the hell are your lane ropes? In the first picture of this review you can notice 2 laneropes to the left side of the pool. You have seen these on a lucky day. It is to my understanding that those two lane ropes are the only two laneropes Freibad Annen own, and they are also very seldom in the water. Consequently, the functionality of this pool is brought into disrepute.
Chances are if you go to the Freibad Annen, there will be no short supply of hobby swimmers in the pool. Now while I have no problem with people excercising, I have a problem when people excercising don't give a curry wurst about others, and swim in every direction of a 360degreee circle. These German's don't give a shit, and would swim over Claudia Schiffer if they could. On considering this, I have to ask myself is are they actually even swimmers, and is this actually even a swimming pool? Let's examine the evidence. Here are some of the styles of 'swimming' you will encounter at any given time when using this facility.
The Frontal Crawl (with specialty webbed gloving for increased hyrdrodynamics)
The Frontal Crawl (floatation assisted)
The 'float 'em if you got 'em'
The Semi-Indecent Exposure
Scissor Kick Variation 1
Reverse Scissor Kick Varation 2
Even a Siberian living on the steppe can conclude that none of these styles are in fact swimming. With no lane ropes, the Freibad Annen pool is a maelstrom of arms, legs and Germans all up in your face. Please install some lane ropes and order to this pool. I just want my own little space please! Did I mention that when the sun comes out, you can't actually swim at all because there's so many people? Not even a paddle to the face can sort these folk out. On the rare chance you will stake one of the two lanes to yourself, be prepared for 50 school kids to jump on you without warning.
So that's the freibad Annen reviewed. Next up, Zollikon freibad/hellenbad, when I feel like it.
*this review was entriely satyrical so don't take offense, simply because I've written this disclaimer*