Air dome over the Friesdorf outdoor pool Almost normal…

Friesdorf · The Friesdorf outdoor pool serves as a replacement for the closed Kurfürstenbad in Bad Godesberg. This is made possible by an air-supported construction. How to use the outdoor pool in winter? Here’s your perfect guide to the indoor Friesi.

 The air dome turns the Friesdorf outdoor pool into an indoor pool in winter.

The air dome turns the Friesdorf outdoor pool into an indoor pool in winter.

Foto: Bettina Köhl

A corridor with a revolving door leads to what is currently Bonn's most unusual indoor pool. It looks like a cross between the Friesdorf outdoor pool and the Radom in Wachtberg. Under the white honeycombs of the air dome construction, however, it swims like any other indoor pool. Only the airlock-like access ensures that the slight overpressure that keeps the air dome in shape does not escape. The indoor pool guests use the same showers and changing rooms, lockers and lockers as the outdoor pool guests in summer.

Outdoor pool season is limited in time

"I personally am always surprised at how good the climate is in the air dome," says Rafael Röger, Chairman of Freibad Freunde Friesdorf (FFF). The winter solution for the Friesi is intended to at least partially replace the water areas of the closed Kurfürstenbad. The year-round use of the outdoor pool also has advantages for the FFF association. "We now have times on Saturday mornings for seahorse training with children," reports Röger. The disadvantage, in his view, is the conversion time required for year-round operation. "The outdoor pool season is very limited as a result, and an extension is not possible," says the chairman.

The winter offer has been well received, with well over 2000 visitors to the Friesi in three months so far. According to the press office of the city of Bonn, a total of 2240 bathers came in October 2023, 2398 in November and only significantly fewer in December with 1531 visitors. At the beginning of the year, the good intentions apparently took effect again and the Friesi recorded its strongest month of the season so far with 2733 guests.

One person who regularly comes to the air dome on Tuesdays and Fridays is early swimmer Franziska Gutsche, deputy secretary of the FFF. "I would always compare the Friesi to the outdoor pool, and of course that's much better," she says. Nevertheless, the air dome is of course a luxury and is particularly popular with professional swimmers and people who want to do something for their health, according to Gutsche's impression. "It's warm, it's clean and the distances are short."

Little variety for families with children

For children and families, however, the offer is limited in winter, as the diving platforms are not in operation and there are no other play options in and around the pool, unlike in summer. "A water slide would be nice," says Franziska Gutsche. The pool is open to the public on Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm and Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm, when more families come. However, there are no loungers or other options for relaxing around the pool, as the air dome remains a temporary solution.

According to Elke Palm, deputy head of the Sports and Pool Office, the air dome has proved its worth in Bad Godesberg: "If only because it will ensure school and club swimming for the district until the new Kurfürstenbad opens. The air dome was and is therefore indispensable." According to the press office, twelve schools have used the Friesi since October. The city does not have more precise figures on the number of classes. You can find out how many lanes are available to the public and when by checking the opening times on the city's website. However, it can happen that - as was the case last week on Wednesday morning - only the non-swimmers' pool is needed for school swimming. In this case, all other lanes are released for individual guests at short notice.

There is an exact occupancy plan according to which lanes are reserved, the press office said on enquiry. The plan is just not publicly accessible. "If, for example, a school doesn't turn up, we don't usually find out beforehand, but we react by releasing the lanes that are actually intended for this school for the corresponding period for the public," says a member of staff from the press office. Rafael Röger knows of a primary school that was left empty-handed when the times were allocated. "If you find out that a school is not using its times, you should release them for others," he says.

Film nights and Friesathlon in the pipeline

The Freibad Freunde Friesdorf are already in the planning stages for the new season. It is certain that the film nights will take place on the last weekend in July and the first weekend in August and the Friesathlon, the local triathlon, will start on 23 June. "We're still working on other projects, but that's not quite ready for finalisation yet," says Röger. The trio Wellenbad has been asked to organise an event with spherical music under water.

Such events are very important for attracting new visitors, says the chairman: "The film nights in particular have attracted people who were previously unfamiliar with the outdoor pool." During the air dome season, the two covered pools have to suffice. You can look up at the honeycombs from a supine position and imagine you are swimming in a radome.

(Original text: Bettina Köhl; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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