A hazmat team is at the scene of an emergency at a Sydney pool following a chemical incident. The facility has been evacuated and was being ventilated as the emergency service worked to dilute and clean up the chemicals in the water. The incident is believed to be linked to a bucket found in the back of a ute which was later determined by Fire and Rescue NSW to contain two chemicals related to pool chlorination and cleaning. A further eight people were taken to hospital with symptoms including breathing difficulty and burns. The facility was declared safe shortly before 5pm.
There is a lot to love about Sydney’s beaches, but some people prefer to swap the sand for a salty dip at one of our city’s beautiful ocean pools. These swimming spots are often a better option for swimmers than the surf because they provide a more controlled environment and are easier to swim in, particularly at high tide.
Some of them are famous – the Icebergs at Bondi, for example, have been welcoming swimmers since 1994, and the pool is open to the public for a small fee. Other popular seawater pools include the Bronte and North Bondi rock pools, which are also open to the public for a fee and welcome swimmers of all ages and abilities.
But what is it that makes these ocean pools so special? And how did they come to be so cherished in our city?
The answer to the latter question is a fascinating tale of community and social activism that goes right back to the 1930s. At that time, the Bondi and Bronte Amateur Swimming Clubs were forging links with country communities by giving free, state-wide learn-to-swim classes.
These sessions were a key part of the clubs’ mission to promote safe swimming and build a’swim culture’ in the city. By the late ’30s, the club members had expanded their reach, and were visiting many regional centres and towns to teach children how to swim.
Today, there are still lots of swimming clubs that are promoting safety in the community. In fact, there are even some that are focusing on helping kids in the developing world to get access to swimming lessons. These initiatives are an important way to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a lifelong passion for swimming. It’s a worthy cause, and we should all support it in whatever way we can. We should also remember that the future of swimming is in the hands of the next generation. This is why we need to invest in it now. It will pay off in the long run for us all. By Nicola Morrison.