Meet Russell, one of our longest swimming members who has been a part of our Glen Innes family since 1972. Go Russell!. Russell informs us there was only one pool in the ‘70s; we had no gym, no spa and no steam room. So as the Centre has changed over the years and new facilities have been built, Russell can claim to have been here literally since day one.
What keeps you motivated to come every day?
It’s how I‘ve always started my day. Before I retired I was a university teacher - by its nature a sedentary occupation, and I found swimming the most convenient and enjoyable way of keeping fit. For those at work or in retirement there’s no better exercise than swimming.
What friendships have you made here at the Glen Innes Pool and Leisure Centre?
I have met so many people over the years, making lifetime friendships in the process. I say with confidence that the Glen Innes Pool and Leisure Centre is the best social club I’ve come across in the whole of Auckland! It’s a fantastic way of meeting new people drawn from all different walks of life.
Wealth or status mean nothing once you are here. Putting on your swim wear or gym togs acts as a great leveller. All become equal in an environment where the sense of camaraderie is infectious.
What changes have you seen since you have been a member here at Glen Innes?
No matter who is running the site, the people have always been friendly. It has worked both ways ─ staff towards members, members towards staff. There also seems to be an unspoken working rule of respect among us all. Regardless of whether you are young or old, or regardless of your religion or culture, respect towards others seems to be expected of you.
What’s your most memorable moment here at Glen Innes?
A personal one. My daughter was in a bad motorbike accident, which broke many bones, caused severe nerve damage and left her in constant pain. After nine months of almost complete immobility, she was brought down here in a wheel chair and was lowered into the pool. A former swimmer, she took to the pool immediately, literally like a duck taking to water. She swam a length and from that very day never looked back. It is interesting that though she still has some continuing physical disabilities from her accident 35 years on, her love for the pool (now in west Auckland) has not waned. She is now a Masters swimmer, swims 2 kilometres three days a week, and this summer with her daughter participated in and completed all the New Zealand ocean swims.
If you could give your younger self some advice on the subject of fitness, what would it be?
As in your private affairs you must always plan ahead. Anticipate the next stage of your life and devise exercise that will prepare you for that. Do not over-extend yourself, but get puffed at least three times a week. What better way to do that than physical exercise in a pool or a gym?
“Falling in love with swimming is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Describe how you see us here at Glen Innes?
A good mixture of togetherness and a readiness to make change when necessary. “A very humble swimmer extending herself is getting just as much out of that activity as the skilled competitive swimmer”.