I fondly remember the days when I was learning to swim, my coach would tell me to not grab hold of the water, not fight, not struggle but just think of the water as a friend. I kept repeating this in my head till water became my best friend. It gave me the BFF kind of feeling but inevitably, life happened. I moved to Mumbai, work became stressful, made new friends and forgot to keep in touch with the old.
Mumbai encourages and celebrates some sports very well, sure you’ve heard or even participated in the famous Mumbai Marathon. I think it is a great event, even if people are participating because of the social pressure it’s forcing them to run a few miles and keep fit for at least a month in the year.
Mumbai is by and large humid throughout the year making if difficult for running (except of course if you run in an air conditioned room on a treadmill, which obviously takes the fun out of running). But isn’t this the perfect whether for a dip in the pool? Relief from the heat, innumerable physical benefits and also a great way to relax, right? It hardly feels like a workout when it actually is a really effective one! Sometimes you can just float effortlessly, enjoy the silence under water, focus on nothing but the rhythm of your stroke – I would call it meditation.
I wonder why, swimming isn’t encouraged in Mumbai as much as it should be. I learnt recently that Indian Air Force associated with IDBI organised a Swimmathon as part of its initiative to promote and popularise the sport of open water swim in India. Indian Air force channel swimming team ‘Delphinus’, successfully completed the extreme endurance Swimmathon, the longest open water swim in Asia. The Swimmathon commenced from the Gateway of India, Mumbai on October 28th at 14:30 hrs and culminated at same place on October 30th at 1600 hrs involving around 50 hours swim clockwise around Mumbai. Kudos!
We probably need many more such events and probably also more accessible swimming pools in the city! Once I started looking for a pool near me, I realised there is a serious dearth of facilities. You either have to be a member, a lifelong member of the (mostly) arrogant sports clubs. Membership here is mostly inherited or very very expensive. Or, you have the 5 star hotels which charge you exorbitant rates per swim. However, there are some lesser known clubs in most localities that you could look out for! I joined the C’est La Vie in Bandra which has a rather small pool but is very well maintained, well located and the price is comparable to that of joining a gym in Bandra. And every day that began with a swim was a good day, already! I also discovered that they do Swim-n-Sangria brunches on Sunday at a restaurant by their pool. Must try 🙂
Anyway, while looking up I found these to be the other accessible pools in the city:
(can’t vouch for each of them but this can be a good starting point if you’re looking for one in your locality)
- Swim Sure, Powai
- Dadar Club, Dadar East
- Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Club, Vile Parle East
- Surbhi Health Club Swimming Pool, Kandivali East
- Priyadarshani Swimming Pool, Mulund West
- Country Club Swimming Pool, Andheri West
- Country Club Spring, Kandivali West
- Sea Princess hotel, Juhu
- S C N Sports Club & Swimming Pool, Kandivali East
- Juhu Vileparle Gymkhana Club, Juhu
- Matoshri Arts Swimming Pool, Andheri East
- Celebration Club Swimming Pool, Lokhandwala, Andheri
- Dolphin Swimming Academy, Juhu
- Andheri Sports Complex, Andheri West
- Sindhi Society Gymkhana Swimming Pool, Chembur East
- Mandpeshwar Civic Federation & Swimming Pool, Borivali West
- Karnala Sports Academy & Swimming Pool, Navi Mumbai
- Swim For Better Living, Dadar West
- Evershine Club Swimming Pool, Kandivali East
Do drop in a comment if you know of any other pools that are fairly accessible.
And for everyone contemplating, take the plunge!