University of Bath Sports Training Village

Busy 50m University Pool in the UK's best county (Somerset)!

Busy 50m University Pool in the UK’s best county (Somerset)

A quick homeward-bound detour down the M4 to Bath for pool number 64, not a Roman Spa but a rare UK 50m almost Olympic pool (has the length, but with only 8-lanes, not the width!). The expected 25-minute journey took more than double thanks to horrendous Bath traffic.

The pool is located in the fantastic Bath University Sports Campus, this is by far the most extensive multi-use sports venue I’ve visited, typically, a 50m pool is the central attraction, but here, it’s lost in a jungle of gyms, courts and studios, fantastic, and busy!

The receptionist informs me I have to wait five minutes before I can enter as the pool is apparently ‘bustling’. Not sounding good but quickly invited forward to pay my £5 entry fee. After a few wrong turns, I finally, manage to find the communal locker room (there are many!) and located a free and £free digital locker. Must remember PIN!

Load the locker and realise for the second time this week, I have no towel, oh well, Hugo Boss work shirt will have to do!

Hand my ticket to the lifeguard and pick one of the two open public lanes, (the other six are hosting club training). There are 7/8 people in the lane, thankfully bunched together over the 50m.

Make a start. Spent far too much time in American 25-yard pools lately, so a 50-metre pool has come as a shock to the shoulders. 300 meters in, I’m catching people, they’re aware I’m right behind but continue to turn, too many people to overtake.

The stop/start confuses the Garmin Swim watch, pull up after 400m (450m according to the watch!). Decide to switch to shorter 100’s & 50’s to fit in between the gaps.

Realise after a few lengths, every other person (20+ people) in the pool is female, am I in a women-only session? I have never been so pleased to see two portly old guys in Speedos emerge from the changing rooms and jump in!

Complete a slightly frustrating total of 1,500m, chat with a guy wearing a Swim Smooth cap (I’ve part read the book), then jump out for a shower and a towel-less air dry!

Auto-pilot back to the M5 and the 100 miles North to the Midlands (Can’t tell you how many times I’ve traversed this motorway! Arrive back in Sutton Coldfield and head to the Brew House to meet my now all-40-plus friends for a beer, a couple I’ve not seen for a long while! Chat about ‘the old days’ for an hour then home!

Swim Stats

  • 1500 meters total swim
  • 1:25 pace / 100m
  • Garmin Swim Watch



The pool was busy and the swim awkward, but I won’t let that cloud my review of such a fantastic facility - nor the fact only two showers were working! It’s busy because it’s such a great venue, and congratulations to the University for sharing such a great facility with the public, so many don’t.

Pool Details

  • Length 50 meters
  • 8-lane pool
  • Indoor

University of Bath Sports Training Village
University of Bath, Claverton Down Rd, Combe Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK

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