Take the Plunge into Julia Lebosse’s Favourite Pools
Take the Plunge into Julia Lebosse’s Favourite PoolsJulia Lebosse
London based ex-swimmer turned swim teacher Julia Lebosse, is the founder of Sneakers by Women, a digital space dedicated to telling untold stories about women in the sneaker, design, and fashion industries, which she runs whilst juggling a degree on the side.
She finds herself continuously being pulled in by the electric and chaotic energy of the city saying “It’s the hub for everything, whether that be exploring creativity through fashion, art, and music, or mastering a sport like swimming, basketball, or climbing… which keeps me constantly inspired and eager to discover all that the city has to offer!” But most importantly, it's where she found her community in the footwear industry, as well as being home to one of her all-time favourite pools, the London Aquatics Centre.
Check out her guide to the pools and leisure centres that have shaped her journey in the water. Brought to you in partnership with Nike Swim & Open Waters, helping people from all backgrounds navigate the water.
In this Guide
“First up is the Basingstoke Aquadrome. It's a place with three pools—a 25-metre pool, a shallow 20-metre teaching pool, and a lagoon pool with a variety of fun slides—as well as a gym for all you gym rats. The Leisure Centre is situated within the Basingstoke Leisure Park, which provides a wide range of activities and everything you could possibly need within walking distance, including indoor diving and skiing, bowling, ice skating, and a Premier Inn. There are also a few food options, including Costa, McDonald's, and KFC. A place of several firsts for me, including the home of the first club I joined, competition, medal, Swimathon, and (slight flex) the pool in which I went sub-minute in the 100 Freestyle. This pool is very special to me, because from the age of nine to seventeen, I spent more hours here than I did at home! A place of several firsts for me, including the home of the first club I joined, competition, medal, Swimathon, and (slight flex) the pool in which I went sub-minute in the 100 Freestyle. It was essentially my second home for almost a decade, and it still holds a special place in my heart to this day. So, while this town may not be the life of the party, if you're looking for a leisurely swim suitable for all abilities or want to simulate the action of falling from the sky, plan a cheeky trip to Basingstoke.”More Info
“If you haven't heard of this pool, you've most likely been living under a rock because it's one of the best in the country. Built specifically for the Summer Olympics in 2012, it is now a space for both peak athletic performance and casual stronger swimmers. The centre is located in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London, and was expertly designed by architect Zaha Hadid to serve as the Olympic Park's "main stage." When I think of this pool, many words come to mind, but I always come back to "wow." It's one of those places that you simply must see in person to fully appreciate the magnificent architecture, both inside and out. The huge venue includes two 50-metre swimming pools as well as a deep 25-metre pool with a moveable floor for synchro and diving. I used to compete there when I was younger, and I remember it being absolutely freezing! It's kept at a fairly low 27 degrees as it's an Olympic standard pool. This is truly a blessing because there is nothing more refreshing than diving into cold water and instantly feeling awake. It's almost euphoric.”More Info
“Last but not least, the spot where my competitive swimming career ended on a bittersweet note. The pool here is 50m long, though it is occasionally split in two, and the building also includes diving platforms, a gym, and squash courts. This pool is situated within the Army training grounds in Farnborough, so it's not surprising to see soldiers in training walking around the area. This pool is also home to the Rushmoor Royals Swimming Club, which I briefly joined and thoroughly enjoyed for nearly a year. It was the closest 50m to where I lived, so I swam there frequently throughout my time in competitive swimming. One end is extremely deep, designed for diving and synchronised swimming, while the other end is surprisingly shallow and warm at times, which is definitely welcome during the colder months of the year. There was a road circling the venue, and our coach used to have us run around it as a warm-up for morning training (which I very much despised haha).”More Info
“Another location where many memories were made, far too many to count, was the Mountbatten Leisure Centre's 50m pool. Situated in Hilsea, the centre includes a swimming and teaching pool, as well as a squash court, dance studios, an all-weather pitch, a number of tennis and netball courts, as well as a cafe. This pool, like the London Aquatics Centre, has beautiful architecture, with a dramatic wave-like roof that sweeps down to cover the pool, an absolute treat to look at when swimming backstroke. Many Hampshire competitions were held here a few years ago, including County Championships, Easter Weekend Competitions, and Area Leagues. It's simply because it's a wonderful pool, and a fast one at that (if you know, you know). Not to forget the windows on the far side of the pool which look out onto Alexandra Park. During competitions, this park was a place me and my teammates would often flee to for our lunch breaks. On the other side of the building, you can stroll down the Hilsea Shore Path, which overlooks Tipner Lake, which is part of the historic Portsmouth Harbour. The path has been reconstructed with a new seawall, information signs, a variety of plantings, and plenty of seating, perfect for getting some fresh air post-swim.”More Info