Too little, too late?

ian thorpe aquatic centre

I always enjoy reading the search terms that bring people to this blog. The commonest, not including “gladallover” and its variations, are “baby baboon”, “nakheel tower”, “bram stoker”, “phantom of the opera” and “thelonious monk”. In each of those cases, and in most others, I know which post they will have found, and I hope that what they read there was what they were looking for. Sometimes, though, someone ends up here having searched for a very specific piece of information which I know I don’t have, and that always makes me feel a bit sad. So last week, when someone found me by searching

“How wide are the lanes at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre?”

I decided I would find out the answer. I couldn’t find it on the internet, although I did find the measurements for a standard Olympic-sized pool, which I discovered has lanes two metres wide.

(I don’t know why it needs lanes two metres wide, when an Olympic pool is the one pool where you don’t have to overtake slow swimmers in your lane, but there you go.)

But that wasn’t enough. The main pool at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre is described as Olympic-sized, but it has never been used for the Olympics. It might just be fifty metres long and anyway, there was no use in my finding an answer that could have been discerned from the very search that led someone here in the first place. I needed an answer from a more convincing source.

So I stopped looking at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre website and instead I found the link that said “Contact us”, and I sent an email to the address they gave, asking how wide the lanes were. I instantly got an out-of-office reply (it turns out the pool was closed last week after elevated bacteria levels were discovered, so even if they’d been at home, they’d have had more pressing concerns than my question), but this morning I got the following email:

Hi Laura,

I don’t have an exact number but they would be approximately 2 metres wide.

Thea Harrild

Aquatics Coordinator

OK, so it’s not much more confident an answer than the one we found for ourselves, but at least it’s from someone who we can assume has seen the pool in real life, rather than only in glossy photos like the one above, and therefore knows that 2 metres isn’t miles out.

So thank you Thea, and person who searched for “How wide are the lanes at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre?”, please come back. I think I can help now.