Just in case you are considering to acclimatize in Alor Setar prior to Langkawi International Ironman Triathlon, the option to swim in an Olympic sized swimming pool is really limited. Commonly, the locals would suggest the Olympic Sized swimming pool at Jalan Stadium near the Football Stadium and next to Hotel Seri Malaysia. The water is murky; too many kids and adults go there to dip instead of swim, the toilet provided is also “average” I’d rate. If an Ironman Triathlete swims 4km (80laps), I believe he/she will spend half of the laps diverting from the lane to avoid kids. It will be a great workout to test your mass swim start navigation though.
There is another pool with 50m length near the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport, but does not comply to FINA’s Olympic Sized measurement. The pool has diving platform but the gap between lanes is very narrow (about two arms’ length). Weird! This pool located at the Kepala Batas Air Force base, so I doubt anybody would come in.
I found another Aquatic Center 3 months ago somewhere Gunung Keriang but didn’t have the time to test it. I drove from Kepala Batas airport to the Pusat Akuatik (Aquatic Center), the brown signage is all over the places whether I came from Jitra or Kepala Batas. The entrance gates are rusty and empty car parks indicates that this is place is abandoned, I thought nobody swims here.
As I walked inside upon paying RM3 entrance fees (for adult), I was impressed with the facilities inside! They have no less than 10 toilets and 10 shower cubicles, doping control room, physiotherapy room, prayers room, medical room and the lists go on and on. However, most of the rooms are not properly maintained. Back to my main concern, the pool! This massive indoor swimming pool has a 9 lanes 50m pool and a diving platform at another separated 5m deep pool.
I love indoor pools for the flexibility to swim no matter what the weather condition is. The 50m x 25m sized swimming pool is deeper than I thought!
From one end to another, the depth is around 2m I believe because I could not step on the floor with my height. I prefer this 2m depth because only serious swimmers will come to swim, the kids will only hold on to the pool side so I had the whole pool for myself. I swam 2.2km yesterday, the one and only swimmer who swam lap after laps. The water is cool but not as cold as Bukit Jalil and the floor is sandy at the middle section. None of that matters to me because the water is crystal clear! I did not feel my hair sticky nor smell very strong chlorine too. I was told that this pool intended to prepare for the past SUKMA, that’s why the facilities are good. In my opinion, this pool is underutilized for its capacity. They provide scuba diving lessons too at the diving pool at the cost of RM1600 to get a PADI license.
So, anyone living up north who would like to have a more peaceful swimming environment can try out this underutilized pool near Gunung Keriang. Happy Training.