BOSSES at a swimming pool are in hot water after users complained about new lanes.

Swimmers using Shirley Swimming Pool, on Kentish Road, say they are unhappy that new 'walking and talking' lanes have been introduced at peak times.

The new initiative at the pool is aimed at encouraging more people to get in the water.

The lanes are now divided up into 'front-crawl only', 'any stroke' and 'walking/talking and slow lane'.

However, locals have expressed their anger at the move, which was introduced earlier this year.

Steve Winter, a regular swimmer who has used the pool for 20 years, said: "At the times I have attended there has not been anybody making any use of the third lane.

The narrowing of the lanes causes some problem in overtaking slower swimmers.

In fact, with certain of the swimmers their swimming style in the slower swimming lane it makes overtaking impossible."


Despite the concern, pool boss Dave Perry believes the changes are the best way to move forward.

He said: "I went to New Zealand last year and every pool I visited had people just walking. Not everyone can swim properly but anyone can walk in water and it is so good for flexibility and injury recovery.

"We have plenty of times during the day when adults can come in and use the pool to practice their hydrotherapy exercises, but nothing before or after work.Studies have shown the huge benefits of exercise in water."

Some regulars agree.


Bob Phillips, landlord of the Freemantle Arms, said: "I love it. In the last six months I have lost three stone, just walking and exercising in the two shallow ends. I'm addicted. I've had two hip operations and this is the only way I have found of getting fit again."

Walking lanes are available every morning between 7.30am and 10am and in the evening from 8pm until 10pm.