Belgravia Leisure swim instructors testing out the Program Pool at the Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre.
THE newly re-opened Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is facing criticism about the curtains which can be used to screen off one of the centre's two indoor pools.
The specially designed curtains can be drawn around the glass walls of the program pool and the centre has been accused of being "too politically correct" for offering female-only swimming sessions and lessons.
However, the founder of informal swim squad group Swim Sisters, Yusra Metwally, has hit back at the pool's critics.
"It's not segregation, it's about access and inclusion," she said
"The option of women's swim times is a brilliant initiative to encourage women of all backgrounds, swimming abilities and fitness abilities to participate in swimming," she said.
"Swim Sisters welcomes the Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre swimming facility to improve access to vital swim classes, a step towards reducing deaths from drowning.
"A water safe woman is a role model in her family. Through women, water safety flows onto other family members."
Cumberland Council's general manager Malcolm Ryan says the program pool, which is fully accessible by ramp, is also available for children's swimming classes and use by the elderly, people with a disability and patients having hydrotherapy/physiotherapy, who may prefer additional privacy during their use of the pool.
"Council has a responsibility to cater for the needs of its community," he said, adding that the women's only swimming lessons are held in the Program Pool on Wednesdays, 10.30am-11am and 2.30pm-3pm, and women's only swim passes are available on Sundays, adding that female lifeguards are present during these sessions.