Mermaid marooned over dive pool plan

Posted: 12/16/2011 in all marine news

Lisa Bachmayer – 

Mermaid-in-training Katherine Dawson-Vowles could be left high and dry if plans to make the Adelaide Aquatic Centre’s dive pool shallower go ahead.

The 21-year-old music student took up free diving – where swimmers dive to great depths on a single breath – three months ago.

She has been learning to hold her breath and getting used to the water pressure by swimming to the bottom of the North Adelaide dive pool with weights.

But Adelaide City Council is considering converting the dive pool at the Aquatic Centre into a dedicated space for learn-to-swim classes.

The move would force all deep-water competition and recreational activities – including free diving – out of North Adelaide.

Ms Dawson-Vowles, who hoped to perform underwater mermaid shows at functions with her self-made tail, said making the dive pool shallow was a bad idea.

“I need to be at least 3m deep so I can hang around the bottom, relax and hold my breath,” she said.

“I have to learn how to equalise my ears and I can’t do that in a metre of water.”

Ms Dawson-Vowles said it was difficult to train at the new SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre at Marion because the pool was often being used by elite athletes.

North Adelaide free diver and Australian record holder Michael Cheeseman said the aquatic centre’s dive pool was a “wonderful asset” for beginners and advanced divers.

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