Photo: Al Bello/ Allsport
Dedicated swimmers everywhere are always faced with the challenge of finding places to swim while traveling for work or other reasons.
While offering a list of accessible pools in each and every town in the United States is a little ambitious, I thought I would compile a list of a few of my favorite American pools. Should you find yourself motivated and within driving distance of any of the following natatoriums while on your vacation or business trip, rest assured it will be worth your while.
What makes a great pool? It really depends on what you are looking for. The list below has a little of everything, but the overall qualities that each pool possesses is accessibility, cleanliness, and naturally, aesthetic beauty (if you are going to swim laps during your vacation, surroundings better be inspiring!).
Lahaina Aquatic Center
245 Shaw St., Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Manoa Valley District Park Pool
2721 Kaaipu Ave., Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
For those lucky enough to make it to Hawaii for the holidays, the two pools in Maui and Honolulu are spectacular. Both require only a $3 entry fee, and are nestled in a valley framed by towering mountains and the occasional rainbow. Both are 50 meters long, outdoors, and rarely crowded. While the pool in Manoa is showing signs of age, the Lahaina complex is relatively new. Both are worth a visit; you'll opt to swim a longer workout just to enjoy the scenery.
Chelsea Piers Sports Center
Pier #60 at 23rd St., New York, NY
Although this sports complex contains only a 25-yard six-lane pool, it is in an awe-inspiring facility. At $35 for a day pass, it is only for those willing to get their money's worth by spending a good portion of the day there. Once inside, you'll find the glass-enclosed pool perched over the Hudson River, with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. If you tire of swimming, there is an enormous rock-climbing wall, indoor track, weight complex, restaurant, and every spa necessity ever imagined. Rarely crowded.
IU Natatorium / IUPUI Sports Complex
901 W. New York, Indianapolis, Ind.
My favorite pool in the world, this awesome indoor double 50-meter natatorium has hosted numerous NCAA and Olympic Trial championships. You won't find wider lanes, higher ceilings, or more legendary ghosts of swimming past and present than in this pool. Where else can you go in Indianapolis, anyway? (just kidding).
DeAnza Community College
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, Calif.
Although the hours of operation are sketchy at best, this little 50-meter gem in the heart of high-tech is just the outdoor break you may crave after a day indoors under fluorescent lights. Clean and simple, it has dozens of lanes (set up short course usually) and is easily accessible from surrounding freeways.
Culver City Plunge
4117 Overland Ave. at Culver Blvd., Culver City, Calif.
(310) 253-6680 or 253-6683
Westwood Recreational Complex
1350 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif.
(310) 478-7019 or 473-3610
AAF Rose Bowl Aquatic Center
360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, Calif.
By far, the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena is one of the prime facilities on the Western Seaboard. Neighboring the renowned football stadium, these twin 50-meter outdoor pools hosted the U.S. Olympic team prior to their arrival in Sydney. At $7, the entry fee is a little steep, but the wide lanes, perfect temperature, and clean water make swimming there a pleasure. The Culver City and Westwood locations are in West Los Angeles, near the L.A. Airport and UCLA, respectively. Culver City's outdoor 50-meter pool is clean and open late, as is Westwood's indoor 25-meter pool. Convenience is key with these pools.
The Club at the Handlery Hotel & Resort
950 Hotel Circle N., San Diego, Calif.
(619) 298-0511 for the hotel, 574-0093 for the club
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, Calif.
Both of these outdoor 25-meter pools are convenient and clean. The Handlery is a hotel complex that happens to have a health club on the premises. The outdoor pool has six lanes and rarely any swimmers, so it's your best bet if you are looking for a place to stay, and swim while you're there.
With such a comprehensive list as the one above, there should be no excuse for those of you traveling to neglect your training. The nice thing about it is that many of these pools have interesting histories, and your workout can be an excuse to get out of the house, burn a few calories, and see where many champions trained, raced, and broke world records. Who knows, perhaps there's even a little of their karma left in your lane...