It was a little over three years ago that the topic of an endless pool was first raised. It seemed a novel idea and we were mildly interested but had no burning desire to invest in one.
Then, in October of 2007, my husband, a life-long cross-country runner, was advised to stop running immediately if he didn't want to undergo reconstructive knee surgery on both legs. Seeking an alternative to running that would give him the same intensity of exercise, he went to a private spa where he was able to run in water. This was a short-lived solution as the hydrotherapy pool was intensively used by many different groups and was not often available at the times that Barry was able to go.
We had joined our local independent school's sports club in order to use their swimming pool but it wasn't really very convenient – there seemed to be additional charges for different times and we couldn't commit to swimming at the same time every day, or even every week. We felt it was an expensive way to keep fit and didn't provide the opportunity for the sort of exercise Barry needed to do.
The idea of a pool in our modest back garden seemed ludicrous, to me at least, but as we made further investigations it began to seem possible. The excellent Endless Pools site, with its seductive photographs and videos of happy swimmers in beautiful surroundings, and their free dvd, quickly turned the possibility into a probability and we began to plan.
At that time, we were thinking of moving and were reluctant to build something we might have to deconstruct a relatively short time later. However, the global banking crisis, with all its ramifications, caused us to reconsider. We didn't want to put our lives and plans on hold so we decided to go ahead.
(For any folk who may never have heard of an endless pool it is, in effect, a water treadmill. A power unit generates the current against which you swim – no tumble turns required – and the strength and speed of the current is adjustable. Michael Phelps uses one in his training . . . )