Phoenix at Pells: Review of the Season

Saturday 30th October 2021

After more than a year when the pandemic put an end to swim squad training it was with great enthusiasm that we were able to start a season at Pells Pool on 13th May. Pells is the oldest freshwater outdoor public swimming pool in the UK and is a truly lovely place to use for our swim training. The pool is 50 yards long and 40 yards wide which makes a nice change from the tight 25m pools that we are more familiar with in Sussex.

We hire the whole pool, lifeguards are on hand and we are always warmly welcomed by Phil and his team at Pells. Being unheated, the pool offers an excellent opportunity to practice wet suit swimming, typically required for most triathlon events in the UK, as well as some cold water training for the hardy non-wetsuited types. It is also large enough to allow open water technique training; swimming round buoys, drafting, sighting etc. There is also the opportunity to have the occasional swim-run session using the neighbouring playing fields. What's not to like?!

Liz and Sue, ably supported by Hildi provide a different swim set each week of up to around 2000m swimming that  typically includes a warm up a couple of drills and a main set. Suffice to say by the end you know you've had a workout!

Under the watchful eye of Liz

Key Stats

In summary the Club organised: 

-  26 weeks of sessions ending on 28th October, the last week the pool was open. 

-  a total of 42 members, 17 non-members 5 of whom subsequently became members took part over the course of the season.

-  an average of 14 people attended each session....there is room for at least 10 more each week...come along next season...or bring a friend!  

-  sessions were £6, pool hire £75. We made a small profit over the season of around £300 which will subsidise winter training which tends to be more expensive.    

-  the pool temperature was about 15 degrees in May, rising to just above 20 degrees in the summer and 13 degrees in late October. 

70th birthday party for 'The Sunshine Bus' driver!

On 23rd September we held a surprise birthday party for the current holder of the 'Commitment and Enthusiasm' award, and driver of the Sunshine Bus which regularly took 5, 6 or even 7 swimmers to Pells. Reflecting Eogan's popularity this particular week attracted 22 attendees, the biggest turnout of the season, hopefully not just because there was pizza and alcohol afterwards! 

Pells party time

Thanks from swimmers...

This has been the first year Phoenix have hired Pells Pool for training and it has been hugely popular...these are just some of the lovely comments received: 

  • I haven’t been able to swim these last few weeks but have a very BIG thank you - to alll the coaches and especially to Sue for all the help and encouragement - I’ve definitely improved and have felt very welcomed by all - again thank you - what a great bunch !
  • Thank you all for helping me to improve and making me feel so welcome.

  • I'd like to say a massive thank you to all the coaches ... for spending your own time to help and encourage us and for showing me what I need to improve and how to do it...damn that right arm crossing over!!! And of course a big thanks to all you other swimmers for all the fun, laughter and jolly good times.

  • I have a long way to go with my technique but I went from swimming breastroke only, flailing across half of Pells when I first attempted front crawl to now relishing flat sea ... to practice my front crawl. Hoping to come back to Pells next year.

  • Huge thanks also from Nick and I for your time...fantastic coaching and encouragement Liz, Sue and Hildi! We’ve loved our first season at Pells and learned loads. Thanks to you and our fellow swimmers for making us feel so very welcome. Looking forward to next season, and slightly warmer water, already!

Next year we may start back at Pells a little earlier, depending on water temperature. Look out for an announcement next Spring. 

Our winter training is hitting a few obstacles with the many indoor pools not letting to clubs at the moment. However, we are hoping to arrange a few coached sessions at Lewes Leisure Centre on Thursday evenings at 9pm. And if there is sufficient interest we may hire the King Alfred on saturdays at 5pm for a non coached session. Look out for details.