Suva Olympic Pool
We were enjoying our walking tour, as you do, when we looked right across a stretch of well maintained grass. There was a sign telling us the opening times for the Suva Olympic Pool – open seven days a week including Christmas Day. The nicely painted murals on the wall certainly seemed a wee bit small to be hiding an Olympic swimming pool,our interest was peaked.
We asked the chap on the door if we would be allowed to visit, he welcomed us enthusiastically, his pride brimming, we were to stay as long as we liked. He pointed to the plaque on the wall and told us that the British had built the pool in daily use ever since, except for maintenance closures.
We went down a few steps, looked left and wow. The massive blue expanse of water was such a surprise. A lady originally from New Zealand, now a local resident, had just finished dressing and was sitting waiting for her husband. She told us the water was a chilly twenty four degrees today but mid summer could reach thirty one, empty on a Monday but crowded in the school holidays. There was a real yesteryear feel about the place, more so as we looked around.
The toddler pool could have done with a lick of paint and the signs were a little frayed but considering the structure is ninety years old all is quite remarkable. The cubicles all had a padlock on the door and the public areas were free from litter and very clean.
The grassy area at the shallow end for sunbathers.
Bear was very taken with the home-made bailing scoop.
I was very taken with the starting blocks, standing on one it looked a very long way to the other end - gone are my days of doing a mile of breaststroke several times a week. The stands on the opposite side to where we came in.
View from the stands looking over toward the entrance.
I loved the signs...........
............... particularly the pool rules seven and eight.
The male end and the boys changing room.
From the deep end looking toward the shallow end.
The steps and one final look before we were back to the entrance.
More signs and another plaque.
A clipping from The Fiji Times graces the wall near the entrance. By Ernest Heatley Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Saving lives ... another day at the "office" for Luke Saurogo. Picture: Ernest Heatley
The afternoon of April 25 was busy at the Suva Olympic Pool as it was a typical Saturday drawing more than its usual share of water lovers. "On that day there were more than 400 kids all over the place. Saturdays are always very full," recalled lifeguard Luke Saurogo. Things would go wrong at about 2.50pm when Saurogo noticed a little school girl struggling to keep afloat. The lightning fast reaction from this native of Qarani Village in G
au, saved the life of the girl, identified as Porina, a student of Arya Samaj Primary School. "I noticed that she was floating head-down in the water and her feet were not touching the ground," he said. "I managed to lift her out of the water and luckily she was still breathing and all right. Just a little longer and she could have drowned." There would be little chance to rest for the lifeguard as his skills would be called on once again, in less than two hours, this time, to save three others. At around 4pm a father who was crossing from one end to the other with two daughters clinging to him, developed cramps. "The father struggling with his two daughters who both didn't know how to swim and on his way to the other side he bumped into another lady," recalled the 38-year-old lifeguard. "The two girls started grabbing hold of the lady in the water and suddenly all four people were struggling and going down."
After a cry for the lifeguard was raised by the woman, Saurogo rushed to their aid and managed to pull the girls and the woman to safety. In less than three hours, Saurogo had managed to save four people from possible drowning deaths. The lifeguard is one of four such professionals based at the pool. The incident that occurred on April 25 underlines the importance of trained safety personnel being on hand at swimming facilities, particularly as children are naturally drawn to such activities. Saurogo said from experience, he saw many parents often left their children to swim by themselves and not watch over them as they should. "This is why I cannot take my eyes off from the pool, particularly on Saturdays," said the father of four. Saurogo is a trained professional lifeguard who has been at the Olympic in the past 11 months. Prior to that, he worked in a similar role at Wellesley Resort and before that, as a safety instructor at the Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa. The sole breadwinner in his family, Saurogo takes his job seriously racking up 1km of freestyle training laps per day to keep in shape. Safety in the water, particularly for children is his paramount concern right now. When mishaps occur in the water, Saurogo doesn't waste time, he just does what he does best although he feels people can start being proactive to avoid calamities. "It's good to see schools including more swimming classes into the curriculum but it's important for children, wherever they are, that they inform anybody when they go swimming and always be accompanied by someone responsible when in the water."
Well Done, Luke.
Invited into the office we loved the pigeon-holes and ledgers.
There were some interesting old photographs on the wall which gave us a then and now comparison.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral.
As I said my “thank you” as I left, I couldn’t help but wonder how many coins had passed under the tariff and payment slot..........
The smiling manager escorted us out, thrilled that we had enjoyed our visit. This city treasure may not look much from the outside but 224 Victoria Parade, City Centre, Suva made for a wonderful diversion.
ALL IN ALL WHAT A FIND