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Camden News - by DAN CARRIER
Published: 3 July 2008
Swimming in it: Parliament Hill Lido’s cash surge

SWIMMING outdoors is undergoing a renaissance and the Parliament Hill Lido is reaping the benefits, according to the chairman of the pool’s user group.
Dr Andrew Robins, a paediatrician based at the Whittington Hospital who swims at the unheated Olympic-size pool twice a day, has noticed a steep rise in users in the past two years.
And figures released by the City of London back up the belief that swimming outdoors is gaining popularity.
In the hot summer of 2006, the Lido turnstiles took £49,000 in ticket sales from the beginning of May to the start of July.
Last year, with day after day of rain, the pool took just £31,000 in the same two months.
But figures seen by the New Journal show that since the pool opened in April, City coffers have been swelled by £52,500 – and with two more summer months to go, Lido managers believe they will top the £84,000 taken in 2007.
Dr Robins added that the introduction of free swimming before 9am for over-65s and under-16s had helped, as had the temporary closure of the Prince of Wales baths in Kentish Town.
He also noted extreme fitness sports were pulling in new swimmers.
“I have noticed more and more people coming to swim lengths in wet suits as they train for triathlons,” he said.
“But generally there has been a surge in people who want to swim outdoors.
“Since the publicity over the introduction of charges for the ponds on the Heath, and a series of books and newspaper articles highlighting outdoor swimming, people are finding out its benefits for themselves.
“There is nothing like swimming the back stroke and gazing up at the sky above you.”

* The Lido is at the centre of a multi-million pound Lottery bid by the City to gain cash to upgrade facilities. The bid is currently being finalised and will be considered by Lottery chiefs in September.

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