Swimming is excellent for the whole body; it tones you up and strengthens your heart and lungs.

Swimming is excellent for working both our hearts and lungs, and it does this better than any other exercise.
Because we can’t breathe under water, which means learning to control our breathing is essential.
The control over our breathing, and the physical effort of swimming makes it an excellent cardiovascular sport.

Swimming also improves strength, flexibility and balance.
An important one – Swimming is great for weight control and increased energy levels.
It’s the best calorie burner around.
30 minutes of steady swimming can burn 200-300 calories.
30 minutes of swimming is equal to 45 minutes of activity on land
Because swimming is a full body workout a moderate pace can burn up to 800 calories an hour.
Can you image the benefits of doing that (or even just half an hour) twice a week?

Swimming is great for people suffering with joint or muscular problems - for example people with leg or lower back troubles.
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise.
Basically this means swimming is exercise which puts very little stress on your joints, for example, knees, hips and ankles.

In fact swimming produces 90% less stress on your joints than most other forms of exercise.
This makes it a good activity for recovering after a injury or surgery.

Swimming feels good, and relieves your mind of stress.
People of all different ages and abilities can enjoy swimming, unlike many land sports.

To summarise - swimming enables everyone to have the opportunity of better physical and metal health and provides us all with a chance to have some good old fashioned fun.


Situated at Archery Road Eltham, in Greenwich the Eltham Leisure Centre, is one of the newest GLL/Better centres, with a 25 metre swimming pool, a gym and Fitness Centre with studios that are home to an abundance of Wellness Exercise Classes ranging from Yoga to Circuit Training.

Eltham Pool Fire - Febuary 2010
Eltham Centre - Archery Road
The centre, which forms an extension to the grade II listed Public Library, was opened in 2007.
There was a mysterious fire on Monday 15th February 2010, which resulted in the swimming pool being closed for about six months.

At the time Roberta Woods, an Eltham resident wrote

'It does not surprise me that this (the fire) has happened.
I am a regular user of the Eltham Centre and I have said from the outset that this building was shoddily constructed using cheap materials and cheap Eastern Europen labour.
Almost from the day of opening it has been beset by problems, within weeks two of the taps in the ladies tiolets were hanging off and remained like this for several months also hot water taps could not be turned off  (still a problem) - what a waste, while no water was available from the water machine in the gym for several weeks.
Showers have been blocked, self-service machines are invariably out of order.
As a regular user of the gym I can also confirm that plaster is peeling from the ceiling, bare screws are protruding from plasterboard ,laminate flooring is lifting in places and several pieces of equipment are already requiring attention. This is disgraceful in a building that has not even been open for 2 years. Greenwich Council made much of the fact that they had 'given' this facility to the people of Eltham, what they have in fact done, is saddled taxpayers with an expensive and dysfunctional white elephant.'

Another user commented:

It also seems that there is damp building up in many places, eg. in mens' changing rooms. I bet it won't take much longer until there is toxic levels of fungal growth. If the council had applied the same standards to building control as they do with residential building work we probably wouldn't have had the fire or any of these problems.

Spectators Balcony
Amazingly, a few months after the fire, members of staff, with the approval of the manager, (name removed on the advice of the Metropolitan Police), and the approval of  (name removed on the advice of the Metropolitan Police)  boss, Leigh Allaker, were jamming open two sets of 'fire doors' in order to provide 'air conditioning' for the spectators gallery - 'which was too warm'.
According to Allaker, fire doors may be wedged open for 'operational reasons' - one wonders what a coroner would have made of this if fire had broken out, resulting in the deaths of centre users.
One would think that either the thermostat would be turned down (if there was one) or the spectator's gallery closed.
And were the fire-doors wedged open on the night of 15th febuary 2010 ?
And what would Greenwich Council Health and Safety say about this ?

Focus on the Eltham 25 meter Swimming Pool

Eltham Lido 1933
The pool is situated in the Eltham Centre (see right above) which also houses a Library, council offices etc.
It is an attractive building externally, but the pool and gym are poorly designed, mainly because the design is constrained to an obviously limited budget.
The first Eltham Pool, run effeciently by the local Council was opened in 1933. (see right)

Tom Daley
not using a GLL pool
A swimming pool,of course, can be a dangerous place.When choosing a good swimming pool various factors should be considered,

Eltham Swimming Pool
Is the pool and the surrounding areas, showers, toilets and changing areas clean ?
Is the pool-side free of obstructions ?
Is the pool well designed and well lit ?
Are the non-swimming areas properly supervised ?
With regard to Eltham swimming pool the answer to these questions is a resounding NO !
The pool, a typical example of a GLL/Better Pool, is shown on the right above - note the blue rope thrown carelessly on the floor where children and older people may not see it, and trip.

Lane Dividers
Large Eye Bolt
The Eltham staff also have a nasty habit of leaving the large steel bolts, that secure the lane dividers to the pool wall, on the pool-side.
Standing on one of these steel bolts could lead to a fatal fall, particularly for an older person.
They also leave the same bolts attached under water to the pool-wall, where they could inflict horrendous injuries.

A good pool will ensure that all areas open to the public, other than the actual poolside, will be covered in rubber matting so that people using the pool will not accidentally slip over. - GLL Better do not do this.


Tom Daley - Showering
not in a GLL pool
Many GLL/Better Pools are definitely not clean - (in fact some changing areas actually stink !) , with poorly designed flooring which lacks proper drainage and therefore collects pools of standing, stagnant water.
If you wouldn't accept the standard of cleanliness you see at the pool, changing areas, toilets and showers in your own bathroom - then the do not use the pool.

Danger for Older People

Are the non-swimming areas (changing areas, toilets and showers) properly supervised ? - or, as is the case at Eltham, is it possible for undesirable elements to loiter and harass bona-fide swimmers - particularly older people (see right).
In addition, toilets must be clean, wash basins should have reliable hot water, showers should be powerful and hot.
There should be no areas of standing water in the non-swimming areas.

GLL/Better pools in London, such as Woolwich, Greenwich and particularly Eltham do not meet these minimum standards. - (showers that just dribble barely warm water, sink taps that do not work, or if they work, run cold, empty soap dispensers, broken hairdriers etc,etc).

In addition there have been incidences of dangerously high bacterial levels, and dangerously high chlorine (?) levels, which resulted in temporary pool closure !

And if you are wondering why there is a problem at Eltham then you are advised to consider the photo (right) of the Centre Manager - Ms. (name removed on the advice of the Metropolitan Police)  - and this is not a photo taken when Ms.  (name removed on the advice of the Metropolitan Police) was young and foolish, many years ago, before she took on the responsibility of a large facility - this is a recent photo of a young graduate manage who is obviously not sufficiently experienced to provide a satisfactory service for those using the centre.
And one wonders what the Royal Borough of Greenwich might say about this catalogue of disasters, 
particularly their health and safety department ?

The manageress of the Eltham Centre, while publicly publishing her image on Facebook, does not want to be seen as the manageress of the Eltham centre - which, considering her record in this position, is not surprising.
The centre manager's name is freely available on the web, however.
If you want to know the name of the Eltham Centre manageress go to:


User Comments about the Gym:

Eltham Gym
'The induction process was a bit of a joke, just one example; I wasn't told that you have to swipe your membership card on a random machine and get a wrist band which you HAVE to wear when inside the gym – It took about 4 trips until somebody told me after I had been queuing up at reception for 10 mins at a time.

I have been going to the gym for two months and I still don’t know where the steam room is! There is never anybody to ask !
I pushed myself abit too hard one time and fainted while on the exercise bike, nobody came to help me, despite being out of it for about 2 minutes (according to the timer on the bike).'

Please note:

GLL does not permit the practice of lifeguards standing together as this jeopardises the complete surveillance of the pool and the safety of pool users. Staff that stand together will be subject to formal disciplinary action

The IFI Mark is the nationally recognised standard of inclusion within the fitness industry, awarded to fitness facilities that are inclusive of disabled and non-disabled people.
The accreditation process involves the creation of accessible facilities to meet current best practice and legislation, and the provision of inclusive fitness equipment within the facilities.
This is accompanied by the training of staff throughout the facility, providing disabled people with a safe, effective and value for money experience and the implementation of inclusive marketing strategies to ensure that disabled people are aware of the opportunities available.

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development.