Swimmers Guide: Blackshots Leisure Centre, Grays

Used for the Essex Masters Open meet

The Centre is next to Blackshots Park. It has a gym with all the latest equipment. The pool is a 33 1/3m 6 lane pool which is divided by a boom making it a 25 metre pool with a small but deep warm down area. It's depth ranges from 0.9m shallow end to 1.4 deep end with diving blocks at the shallow end.

There is NO seating around the poolside, so I would suggest either taking a kick float or a fold up chair to sit on. The spectators are housed above the swimmers along one side of the pool in the spectator area where the seating consists of concrete block bench style seating with no back support. So would again suggest using kick floats/cushion to ease the numb bum.

Changing area is communal with cubicles and the lockers are 50p refundable.

Catering facilities - A good size restaurant which sells hot and cold food at a reasonable price. The hot food selection although not huge was thought to be of good standard and well priced.

Parking - There is a large free car park next to the centre.

The Essex masters Open is an afternoon/evening event run over one day. It has all the events up to 100m including IM plus a 400m Freestyle. There are also relays. The event uses a signing in system which seemed to work very well.

2008 warm-up was only 30 minutes, so with only six lanes was quite congested. As the blocks are situated at the shallow end and as the shallow end it is well worth spending some warm up time getting accoustomed to the diving blocks.

The meet attracts swimmers mainly from the East region, though swimmers from South East and Midlands regions were there too.

It is a well-run, friendly meet and all the officials are very helpful and share a bit of banter with the swimmers which is nice. The Starting PA is nice and loud which is great if you're hard of hearing. If you're lucky or good enough to win a medal, they are huge, in fact they actually look like chocolate coins rather than medals!

Programme - 2009 cost 1 great value.

Swim down facilities - the sectioned off deep end of the pool.

Swim shop at meet - If there was I didn't find it.

Positives

  • Well organised and friendly meet.
  • 400m freestyle event.
  • Good Cafe/Restaurant.

Negatives

  • No poolside seating for swimmers & spectator seating uncomfortable.
  • Diving into a shallow end less than a metre deep.

Overall - The meet is well run with plenty of events and a 400m too. Unfortunately the pool really lets it down, no seating for swimmers or proper seating for spectators, and a very shallow pool.