We Australians are a resourceful bunch.
Take this example.
Mention competition lap swimming, and what venue springs to mind?
Hands up if you said: Swimming Pools.
Sure, that’s what we routinely see on television: and, equally certain, that’s precisely where such competitions are generally run. I can almost see the pristine water, the perfect tiles, the impressive starting-blocks.
However, the Club where I have swum for decades has a quite different domain: a river baths in suburban Sydney.
Close to fifty metres from the jetty at the far end of the promenade floats a slightly rusty pontoon. To it, our Swimming Club attaches unsophisticated lane ropes.
Bingo! Now we have the means to conduct in reasonable decorum a series of races, in length from twenty-five to two hundred metres. I admit the shortest races are liable to be approximate distances since their finishing line is not set in stone.
However, what we lack in exactitude is more than made up in atmosphere. For my money, its beautiful tree-studded setting wins, hands down!