Cottonmill Swimming Pool

The first swimming pool was the pond created for the water mill that gives the area its name. A water mill is known to have existed on this site from the 1700s until 1883 when the mill pond became an open air baths. The current building and swimming pool dates to 1905 when it was knows as the “City of St Albans Swimming Bath”. It remained the City’s swimming pool until it was retired in the 1970s and replaced by the Westminster Lodge Swimming pool. The building and the pool was then adopted by our club and used for diver training. In recent years the pool was refurbished and the club expanded from being a diving club to include swimming members. It now boasts a new pool surround, pool liner and a modern pool filter.

It is open to club members all year round except when we had to close due to government social distancing regulations and when it gets so cold that the water freezes. Then it gets used for ice diving training.  

The pool is not fully marked up with lane dividors and in its default configuration there are no ropes. We limit it to 32 swimmers who determine their own lane widths. At other times it is divided with lane ropes to define three separate zones. The lane zone, the splash zone and the deep zone as shown in the diagram below.

When in operation the splash zone is a shallow area where club members and their children can play and the deep zone is used by dive members to test their equipment and the lane zone iswimmer capacity is reduced to 15 swimmers.

The pool operates without any lifeguards and we can only do this because every adult member has accepted the risk and been inducted on swimming pool safety and agrees to our membership contract that requires them to know and and enforce the Pool Safety Operating Procedures. The rules are risk adverse but it means we maintain a safe operation for our pool users.

The demand for new swimming memberships far exceeds our safe operating capacity. One of the ways we maintain a safe operation is to restrict the number of pool users. We control the numbers in the pool by using an online booking system. 

Pool Configuration

The blue divider rope that spans the length of the pool is left in place during the summer and a temporary rope spans from the long rope to the eyelet on the side of the pool to define the Splash and Deep Zones. Watch the video below to see how to do this.

The first member to arrive to use the splash zone is required to move the temporary divider rope into the active position that delimitates the splash zone. The first member to arrive for lane swimming after the splash zone time has expired is required to move the temporary divider rope back into the default position.

Splash Zone Schedule for Summer 2023

Half term: 01 June to 05 June

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Splash timingNo splash  No splash  Midday – 6:30pmMidday – 6:30pmMidday – 6:30pm11:00am – 3:00pm11:00am – 3:00pm

Term time: 06 June to 24 July 

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Splash timing3:30pm – 6:30pm3:30pm – 6:30pm3:30pm – 6:30pm3:30pm – 6:30pm (Followed by canoe club)3:30pm – 6:30pm11:00am – 3:00pm11:00am – 3:00pm

School holidays: 25 July to 04 September

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Splash timingMidday – 6:00pmMidday – 6:00pmMidday – 6:00pmMidday – 6:00pm (Followed by canoe club)Midday – 6:00pmMidday – 6:00pmMidday – 6:00pm

Members’ feedback about the splash and lane zones emailed to splashzone_feedback@sasac.co.uk will be assessed in the first 2 weeks of June by the swim committee and the timetable will be updated depending on the feedback and demand.

Booking System

Without lifeguards, the booking system is the only effective method the club has of ensuring the pool usage does not exceed the safe limits. It is a requirement of membership that all pool usage must be booked in advance by the member except when using the Deep zone, which must be must be preapproved and booked through the BSAC branch Diving Officer.

Eligible members were emailed a registration link from the booking system when it was setup in July 2020 or when the member joined. They had 14 days to activate their account before the registration expired. Members who forget their password can reset it. Members who didn’t successfully register within 14 days need to request a new link from the club’s membership team.

A generic guide for the SKEDDA booking system is available on the Skedda help page to show you how to create a booking.

In summary the booking system allows members to book slots in the pool/ Each slot can be booked in 15 minute blocks upto a maximum of 2 hours. – this can be split across family splash time (splash slot) and lane swimming (lane slot).


Members are asked to only book for the time they intend to use the pool. They can cancel or change the timing of their booking right up until the time it starts. After that they cannot cancel it but the session end time can be changed. So when they know they cannot attend or they leave early the slots booking can altered to free up slots that can be used by other members

How to book a swim slot

A slot number does not equate to a lane. We have no lanes. A slot is just a space in the pool and we use slots to ensure the density of bathers remains within the safe limits. You work out where your swim in the Lane Zone in co-operation with the other pool users when you arrive and you maintain lane discipline by swimming up and down the length of the pool and not across it.

Create a unique booking slot for each person who will be lane swimming. Lane slots cannot be shared. So when you are lane swimming with your child who can competently lane swim, you must book a dedicated slot for them using part of your 2 hour per day pool time allocation

  • There are 15 swim slots available when family splash time is on, and 32 when it is not
  • Select the day and scroll until you find an available lane slot time and click on the slot to open booking details
  • On a smart phone use the magnifying icon on the left hand top corner of the booking system to filter available slots to save you scrolling through all the slots. On a normal browser you filter using the grey dropdown box in the top right hand side
  • Complete the details in the pop up box including filling in the end time of your swim and then press the confirm booking button.
  • A valid booking will return you to the main menu but if your booking was invalid it will give you an error and the reason. Correct the invalid information in the booking and confirm the booking
  • When you are lane swimming with your child who can competently lane swim, you must book a dedicated slot for them using part of your 2 hour per day pool time allocation

How to book a splash slot

The splash zone is a shared zone and there is no lane discipline. A slot number (1-20) is just a space allocated in the splash zone area of the pool so we ensure the density of bathers remains within the safe limits. We assume on average each booking is allocated to 2.5 bathers (parent + 1.5 children). The PSOP allows one parent to supervise a maximum of one children in the water when they are under 8 years old and two children when they are both over 8 years old. In families with more than two children the other parent must be present to maintain the safe supervision ratio.

You share the space in the Splash Zone in co-operation with the other pool users when you arrive but if the 50 bather limit of the Splash Zone is exceeded it is up to the members to work out with the other members who needs to leave the pool to maintain the safe limit.

To book splash time:

Create a unique booking slot for each adult member and specify the names of the children who will accompany you up to a maximum of two children. The booking duration can be from 15 minutes to 2 hours and the total time of your slots cannot exceed your pool quota of 2 hours per day

  • There are 20 splash time slots available when and usage of the Splash zone must not exceeed 50 bathers.
  • Select the day and scroll until you find an available lane slot time and click on the slot to open booking details
  • On a smart phone use the magnifying icon on the left hand top corner of the booking system to filter available slots to save you scrolling through all the slots. On a normal browser you filter using the grey dropdown box in the top right hand side
  • Complete the details in the pop up box including filling in the end time of your swim and then press the confirm booking button.
  • A valid booking will return you to the main menu but if your booking was invalid it will give you an error and the reason. Correct the invalid information in the booking and confirm the booking
  • Each adult member attending family splash time must book a slot, so if you and your partner are attending with your children, both adult members book a splash time slot – you do not need to book slots for your children