Waikato Times: University splashes out on pair of 'Endless Pools'

They're called "Endless Pools", but will be only about 3m long.

Waikato University's U Leisure facilities are nearing the end of an upgrade, including the construction of the special "endless pools" which propel water directly at swimmers, instead of them doing length after length.

"The water goes past you, gets projected down into some grills, is projected underneath the pool," said U Leisure general manager Mark Ingle. The pools work on similar principles to fountains and water features.

Waikato University's U Leisure facilities are the first in New Zealand to feature Endless Pools swimming machines. The pools will be used for swimming, water aerobics, and aquatic therapy.

U Leisure will be the first commercial facility in New Zealand to feature an Endless Pool. The pools will be heated and covered, but not indoors. The end-on-end pools, costing $70,000, should be completed by mid-March as part of a $300,000 upgrade. Mr Ingle said the construction of the pools, which come in kit sets, was relatively simple.

One pool will be shallower than the other, at just over 1m deep, while the other will have a 1.8m deep section for people who are rehabilitating from injuries.

The pools will also feature underwater swim mirrors and grab bars for exercise and therapy routines. Mr Ingle expected the pools' "novelty value" was likely to attract swimmers of all levels. "It'll be great for your aerobic fitness as you don't get a break you get in there and set your (water) speed."

The adjustable water speed means everyone from serious competitive swimmers to casual keep-fit types can use the pools. A staff member, who was a keen swimmer, had tried an endless pool in Auckland and gave it the thumbs-up.

The pools are designed for one swimmer at a time, and Mr Ingle said that removed the at-times problematic issues of lane swimming. "It'll be very much like a squash court you make a booking for a session."

U Leisure's main facility, the university recreation centre, has 6000 members. U Leisure is 50 per cent owned by the university and 50 per cent owned by the Waikato Students Union. It was previously known as Campus Services Ltd.



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