Dispatch: Pool Envy

Pool envy. I’ve got it, and I’ve got it bad!

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“Dispatch” is an online column from Triathlete Editor-at-Large Holly Bennett that features pro updates, industry news, happenings afield and otherwise random reports related to multi-sport. Look for “Dispatch” every Thursday on Triathlete.com.

Pool envy. I’ve got it, and I’ve got it bad! Sure, there are any number of things one can pine for following a trip to Roth, Germany. The dense, delicious bread and delectable pastries. The wonderful coffee and wide array of beers. The forests full of softly padded paths on which to run. The quaint cottages tucked together on fairy tale style streets. But the thing I miss the most? The 50-meter public pool.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of great places to swim where I live in Boulder, more than enough luxurious lap lanes to go around even in this triathlete-laden town. But the pool in Roth is unlike any other I’ve ever experienced – it’s lined with stainless steel. I was told this style of pool is not uncommon in Europe, but it’s certainly a novel concept – and a fabulous one, at that – to me.

Swim there on a sunny day and you’ll see your reflection swimming in tandem below you. A slightly overcast day is actually the best weather scenario, as you’ll see your silhouette clearly contrasted, a dark shadow against the silvery stainless steel. Aside from having an underwater video camera offering instant playback, I can’t imagine a better way to truly view and correct one’s own stroke. Of course, if the overcast sky turns to thunder and lightning, swimming in the giant metal bowl is understandably banned. But the Roth pool complex also boasts a warming room where swimmers can comfortably wait out the storm.

I’m more or less awestruck that a community of 25,000 has a public pool so beautiful (and beautifully maintained), and also so affordable. The equivalent of $3.50 (a little more or less depending on the day and time) purchases a single entry token via the automated entry machine. In addition to the lap pool, there are leisure pools, a play fountain and locker rooms aplenty. And for the record, the rumor of co-ed changing rooms (something I read prior to visiting Roth) proved false. In fact, Roth’s gender-specific pool facilities are clearly marked, including easy visual aids to let you know where to go for whatever your needs!

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