KUCHING: Kuching City South Council (MBKS) kept its promise yesterday, opening its swimming pool in Jalan Padungan here free to the public.
Hundreds turned up for the one-day-only offer on a hot sunny Saturday.
Pool clerk Chong Lee Fong said there was no way of knowing how many had come.
“By the looks of it, at the end of the day there could be as many as 400 or more,” she told The Star.
On top of that, Boss ice-cream wholesaler Wee Voon Leong also took the opportunity to give away free ice-cream to swimmers.
As the lifeguards kept watch, swimmers from as young as kindergarteners to senior citizens were seen enjoying themselves in the two pools.
One is a 1m-deep pool for youngsters and beginners while the other is of Olympic size.
A swimmer, who only wanted to be known as Qas, 50, said he had been swimming for 40 years and enjoyed it not only as a recreational activity with his children but also as a form of exercise.
“Opening the pool for free to commemorate Pandelela Rinong (Olym-pic bronze medal win) is very good and I propose that this (free entrance) should be done annually to promote swimming as a form of healthy acti-vity and exercise,” he said.
MBKS assistant administration officer Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said since the pool was first opened in 1962, there had been many state and even national athlete coming here to train.
“Especially in the earlier years, this was the only standard pool in town. We have a 50m pool and platforms for diving. So it would not be a surprise if Pandelela used to train here in the early days of her diving career,” he said.
Abdul Rahman also said that there were several private swimming schools making use of the MBKS pool for training.
Asked on the latest renovation to the pool, he explained that it was only repairs and maintenance work such as replacing the worn-out tiles lining the pools.
“It is a yearly maintenance we do to keep the pool in good condition and swimmers can swim comfortably,” he said.
MBKS mayor James Chan not only came to see the repair work but also to meet and greet people enjoying the day.
“We want to encourage people to come and swim here and to produce more ‘Pandelelas’ in the future,” he said.
On normal days, the pool is open from Mondays to Fridays from 2pm to 4.30pm, and from 6pm to 8.30pm. On weekends and public holidays, it opens from 9.30am to noon, and 2pm to 5pm.
Entrance for an adult is RM3 while for a student below Form Six is RM1.50.