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A report by Sara Galy
Strath Union’s Communications intern, Sara Galy, tells us her firsthand experience of the Women’s and Enby swim session.
Scotland’s weather is unpredictable. This is the reason why I have never thought about going for a swim in the winter season. However, I came across a Women's and Enby swim session here which takes place every Friday at 2 - 3 pm at Strathclyde Sport. This is a swim session specifically designed for women and non-binary individuals - inclusive of trans, intersex, gender fluid people.
It was a daunting thought about going for a swim and being in my swimwear in front of a pool full of strangers. But, I decided to challenge myself, especially since I am not a great swimmer at all!
When I first arrived at Strathclyde Sports Centre, I went to the women’s changing room. It is a massive room. I saw that there was some careful consideration of the location of the changing room. It is divided into two sides: “wet” and “dry”. The “wet” side is located directly next to the swimming pool. However, the “dry” changing area is separated from the “wet” area.
The first thing I needed to do was to set up a new password for the lock. I had to go back to the reception area to ask for help. It was quite easy. All I needed to do was to switch the numbers on the lock to 000 and lifted the handle, turned 90° anticlockwise, pressed down, changed to my desired password, eg. “123”, got the handle back in the hole and changed the numbers before locking my locker.
The changing room gave me a good impression because it is well presented and clean. It contains colourful cubicles, clean sanitary ware, a well ventilated and lit space which was warm and welcoming before the swim session. There are showers positioned close to the pool, to encourage you to use before entering the pool and upon exit.
I changed my clothes in the changing room, put everything in the locker and went to the swimming pool venue. There, I found a space for wheelchair users. Although I was not confident walking into the swimming pool on my own, I started to dip my toe in the pool. I was then joined by two women “Iqbal & Aqsa”, whom I stayed with until the end of the session. Iqbal is a great swimmer but Aqsa’s swimming skills were just like mine.
Aqsa has expressed to me her feelings about the session: “On the one hand, I felt more comfortable as a woman. However, I wished there was a female lifeguard instead of a male one as I wanted to take my headscarf off. On the other hand, the session brought me happiness and relaxation. I was pleased there was a women-only swim session.”
In addition to the swimming pool, there is also a sauna and steam room which is located in the swimming pool venue. Some people decided to go to the sauna and enjoy its benefits.
Women's and Enby swim sessions gave me the opportunity to swim freely and boost my mood. Also, as long as it is an indoor swimming pool, I am not concerned about Scotland’s unpredictable weather anymore.
If you feel like trying these swim sessions then please pop along and collect a user card for this session from the Students’ Union Level 7, or the Sports Union Office between Monday to Friday, 10am - 5pm. You will be asked to fill in a short registration form so that we can contact you for feedback at the end of the trial period. In order to keep track of usage, you will have to collect a new card every time you intend to use the session.
Written by Sara Galy, Content Writer at Strath Union.