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Deakin Swimming Pool – an Oasis it ain’t

By Duke 4 October 2008 37

Years ago the Oasis Swimming Centre in Deakin was just as its name suggested; a fresh, brightly coloured facility with superb pools, nice indoor and outdoor areas (remember the big slide, the worm?) and ultra-modern compared to every other Canberra pool at the time.  The place was new, super clean, the showers hot and the place well kept.

Anybody been there lately?  What I encountered last week was a building that looked on the verge of being condemned.  I’m not sure who the regulatory bodies for buildings and swimming pools are but I don’t think this place is in good enough condition to be in business.  I’d take some photos but i doubt i’ll go back.

Where does one start?  From the moment you step in to the home-renovated front entrance you notice the once fresh paint is now faded and peeling off damp walls.  Where there is no longer paint, mould and rust stains have taken over and cover virtually every surface. Rust is a major feature – rusty pipes, rusty roof trusses, rusty change rooms and bathrooms – the place is a tetnus shot waiting to happen.  Everything drips.

Hygeine and safety are frighteningly absent.  Leaves and muck have blown in the big open side doors but nobody bothers to sweep it back out again.  Lightbulbs are missing in the mens changerooms so one must navigate a dark, slippery passageway in order to access it.  Changeroom ceilings are the standard height but with no exhaust fans the place is a steamy, soggy breeding ground for bacteria………starting with the mould patches on the roof and dripping down the walls. 

Bandaids on the bottom are a feature of every pool, but Oasis goes one better by having entire bricks down there.  Strangely, there are signs everywhere saying you MUST where a swimming cap.  I have decided this is to protect you from the pool, not vice-versa.

The only good thing I can say about it is that it’s relatively cheap ($5) and so few people go there that it’s easy to swim laps, but to say this place went downhill would be a major understatement.

Prediction:  Deakin Oasis is treading water and being in a nice neighbourhood the place is ripe for redevelopment.  Expect to see the end of Oasis in the next 12 months and an entire mini suburb of nasty, over-priced townhouses and yuppy flats take its place.

Oh Deakin Oasis of yore, how I miss thee. 

What’s Your opinion?

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37 Responses to
Deakin Swimming Pool – an Oasis it ain’t
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wamby 11:51 am 19 Oct 10

How small the world is. I came upon this topic whilst looking for the history of an individual and low and behold I think I’ve found it! A while back this person jumped in their car and drove north out of the ACT for a few hours and set up shop. The Club had great expectations of this individual, however a leopard can’t change its spots. Same issues, same tactics, same agenda and same approach to swimmers and parents. Random27, I have a good idea as to which club you are talking about. My child’s club is only small as well and has had no end of grief since this person fronted. The Clubs top swimmers have had to move pools twice in recent months to get away from this individual. Also random27, a question. The topic was dormant for two years. What prompted the post? Anyway my point is that there is only one thing that wrecks kids sport – adults.

random27 said :

Your a joke! You know nothing about that!
The coach at that club, poached a total of 12 swimmers from the top squad of a team that only had approximately 15-20 swimmers anyway! He poached the swimmers, and told them to go train with him. Isn’t the whole part of the sport for enjoyment and participation? I was part of that squad that got poached, and we almost had to fold because of low numbers. And your telling me that it was just ‘competition’?

It was 2 years ago, build a bridge.

random27 9:57 pm 20 Sep 10

Your a joke! You know nothing about that!
The coach at that club, poached a total of 12 swimmers from the top squad of a team that only had approximately 15-20 swimmers anyway! He poached the swimmers, and told them to go train with him. Isn’t the whole part of the sport for enjoyment and participation? I was part of that squad that got poached, and we almost had to fold because of low numbers. And your telling me that it was just ‘competition’?

Hdopler 4:02 pm 24 Nov 08


The manager of Oasis came from Sydney – as is often the case in Canberra, the ‘ACT swimming insiders’ took an instant dislike to him, mainly because he is (a) an outsider and (b) there to make a profit and (c) as a result a long-standing club is slowly being pushed out of the facility. Sucks to be them but business is business.

I have kids that swim (not at oasis) and my sisters kids stopped earlier this year. Let’s just say it’s immensely amusing to both of us that people would label this manager an A**hole – especially if it is coming from a certain member of the ACT Swimming executive 😉


You are clearly either not in the competitive swimming community or have gotten the wrong information. The meet in question was boycotted by two teams. One is getting pushed out (see above) for sound business reasons, the other is currently training with them whilst tuggeranong pool is closed.

Those two teams boycotted the meet held by the CLUB that the swimmers of the supposed A-hole managers swim school / squad compete for. Whilst those two teams missed the meet, many other local teams turned up in large numbers against great quality inter-state competition. Sadly, the next meet the boycott was reciprocated by the club of the manager in question, and whilst the local competition was slightly higher (but lower in numbers of athletes) the inter-state competition was not as strong as the meet boycotted by the two teams that are angry at the oasis pool manager.

It’s a sad state of affairs in ACT swimming when two meets are weaker than they could be because of politics between three coaches and even sadder when parents deny their kids great opportunities for such silly causes. Simple fact of the matter is had those teams simply attended each others competitions with the influx of interstate swimmers those meets would have been close to the standard of the NSW Country or Metro championships, instead we had scattered and patchy levels of competition.

Add to all the woes at Oasis, the head coach at CIASC is leaving (the most successful coach of a canberra based team at the national level in the last five years) and i’ve heard that another coach with years of national and international experience is facing reduced lane-space at his venue… and no, it is not one of the coaches in question at Oasis… crazy times for the aqua-athletes if you ask me!

Simple soloution: all grow up.

Kudos to the teams that went to both meets, strangely enough, the coaches of those teams not only appear to have good track records in terms of achievements but also seem to be nice men and women focused on the athletes and not money, fame, fortune or putting down others efforts in an attempt to spite another team. Something to be learned from them methinks.

CHW 6:20 am 09 Nov 08

@ #30

Mystery, I always make a point of using my own nous when making a judgment on anything.

This swimming pool is disgusting. That is my opinion of it, after actually using its “facilities”.

Canberra is grossly under-supplied with swimming pools. That is the only reason I allowed my child to get into that pool – I just couldn’t get a spot at any of the other pools – and I would have been quite happy to travel from one side of town to the other.

That this pool did have spots available speaks volumes – no??

And I can tell you – it had another spot available just three weeks after my son’s first lesson, I just couldn’t convince myself to let him back into that environment, let alone back into that pool. I feel negligent for making him take the first three lessons.

I spoke to other parents while waiting for my son to finish his lessons – guess what?? I didn’t bring up the conditions of the pool, THEY did: and they ALL hated having to expose their kids to such a filthy pool.

Oh – and no, I couldn’t get a refund and that is infuriating when your budget is as tight as mine is – so choosing to discontinue lessons was a serious decision.

Duke 9:41 pm 08 Nov 08

@ Mystery – I am not a member of any swim squad, just an everyman swimmer, but let me just say that building SHOULD BE CONDEMNED! That you yourself admit ACT Health is a regular attendee speaks volumes about the state of the place. No other pool would have such regular visits from health authorities.

No you may not be a coach, but me thinks a Newbie member with no message history is one to be wary of.

Go check out a freshly painted Phillip Pool – now thats a goddamn good pool!

burkes08 8:51 pm 08 Nov 08

Yep, I counted 15 bandaids in my one lane at CISAC the other day. Teh chlorine at Deakin burnt but at least they cleaned the bottom.

Mystery 8:23 pm 08 Nov 08

Stooping to the lowness of those who post ridiculous comments on this site, purely because they are just so way off the mark someone has to say something… I suggest some people get their facts straight!!!!

ACT Health has been visiting the Oasis pool regularly to assist in water testing, not because it isn’t being done. OK there have been problems, but anyone who is a regular knows they are always only temporary, and what pool doesn’t have it’s problems??? Aqua Harmony had to cancel lessons a few weeks ago due to malfunctioning equipment, Tuggeranong closed for refurbishment because of leaks (among other things), the outdoor pools all get a maintenance block during winter that the indoor pools don’t have… Don’t you think if the place was unsafe to swim and unfit to operate, the Health Dept would ALREADY have closed it down? Can’t be that bad if they are in “all the time” and it’s still operating. Think about it.

As for comments about the squads & coaching – sour grapes and again unfounded, unqualified accusations and comments (and no, I am not a coach anywhere!)Don’t know what you classify as “most of Canberra’s swimming community”, and the recent meet was hosted by the Club not the Coach. Derrr.

And the trainer who was asked to go elsewhere apparently has a history of “incidents” with certain patrons – just to throw that in to the mix of comments. Two sides to every story – helps to look at both sides before making judgement calls.

swimmer 2:53 pm 30 Oct 08

M2 – Civic pool will reopen in a couple of weeks and does learn to swim. Also, AIS is good.

ranlke – not all that club’s senior swimmers have been lost. Some could see what was happening and will be back. After all who would want to train at Oasis indefinitely?

Kramer 11:23 am 28 Oct 08

I have taken my kids to swim lessons CISAC – the facilities are pretty good, but the quality of the teachers has been variable.

M2 11:14 am 28 Oct 08

Hello dear all,

I would like my son (he is 7 years old) to learn how to swim, could you please help me find a clean pool with good teachers?
Thank you in advance

walpolepark 9:11 pm 20 Oct 08

‘complete A**hole’ Yes, BerraBoy68 I agree.

Stealing another man’s livihood. How low can you go?

Most of Canberra’s swimming community agree. Apparently he hosted a swimming meet last weekend and most Canberra swimming teams boycotted the meet and didn’t enter competitor’s or only entered very few. He had to write to Victorian and NSW swimming clubs to get entries and save face.

But the real issue is how he can put patron’s health in danger by his incompetance and get away with it. Apparently the Health Department has been visiting the pool since July after many complaints, he still can’t get it right but is allowed to remain open.

Maybe he has friends in high places?

BerraBoy68 6:59 pm 20 Oct 08

I was talking to an ACT swimming industry ‘insider’ tonight, she agreed the pool was closed during the school holidays due to significant health concerns. She also agreed the Manager at Oasis is a ‘complete A**hole’ who treats his patrons like crap. Apparently though, he’s not the owner. I just onder if the owner actually knows what’s happening at the center and how his manager is insulting clients and running the place into the ground.

ranlke 7:32 am 20 Oct 08

” think Oasis is bigger and must be down near the Mint. I used to see ads for it and was very impressed”

Oasis is down by the mint – not sure which ads you saw for it but impressive it ain’t

Piece of metal nearly the size of a cricket bat fell from the rusting roof last week. Could of hit a patron!

Still turning hair green, costumes purple, making eyebrows and eyelashes disapear and children cough and vomit

ant 10:04 pm 19 Oct 08

ramblingted said :

bd84, I think you are thinking of Deakin Health Spa, now Fitness First

The Prosser Pool! Oh the lovely chlorine smell that singed your nostrils and turned all the blond people green.

I think Oasis is bigger and must be down near the Mint. I used to see ads for it and was very impressed.

ranlke 9:35 pm 19 Oct 08

“they were approached & asked to leave by a rather rude manager of the place. I believe they have some sort of exclusive arrangement with another trainer, which I guess is kinda fair enough…but the way they were treated was disgusting. They were sworn at, threatened & given no reason why they were asked to leave. “

This manager is really something else! Apparently he has a another club training there since the pool closures. He would not allow the coach of this club to train his own senior squad team there( but he could train his junior team) so he forced the coach’s top swimmers to join his own club! Since they needed to maintain their training for competitions they had little choice. Coach’s earning’s come from the squads they train …so he was basically stealing this coaches income.

One of Canberra’s oldest club has trained at Oasis since the year dot and he is forcing this club out by cutting their lane allocation so badly that they cannot continue to train. I heard that their training time has been cut by half, thats from 10 hours to 5 hours. They make up the extra time by jogging around theoval next door.

The health department keeps coming back ( sometimes nearly every day) because this guy just cannot get the quality of the water right. Lots of people have refused to send their kids there since they are worried about the water. Anyone complaining about the water quality is treatened with eviction!

A really nice guy!

Gin02 6:16 pm 11 Oct 08

Oasis has always been filthy. I remember swimming comps there were always cold and damp and the floor was always slimy. Makes my skin crawl.

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