Pool: Cowell Pool
Good News: Outdoor 50 meter and 25 yard pool and all the accoutrements.
The Bad News: Old locker rooms and crap showers. Plus it's in Concord; leave your valuables at home.
Details: Well, I remember from my childhood that some sort of massive swim meet was held at this pool, like maybe the '78 World Championships. Am I wrong? I keep seeing thick shouldered East German chicks in my mind. Anyway, it's a hella deep pool with both a super high platform and a springboard for your diving pleasure.
- Los Angeles
Pool: L.A. Fitness, La Cienega
Good News: Water in pool
The Bad News: 24 yards, hot water, three lanes, no gutters.
Details: It's a gym pool, so what do you expect? An extra yard so it's standard size? Lots of non-swimmers... you know what that means. They swim down the middle of the lane until you crank out the butterfly and teach them the ways of the world by smacking them straight in the puss.
- Pleasant Hill
Good News: 25 yards, lane ropes, pace clocks, kickboards. Nice lifeguards.
The Bad News: Four lanes, no gutters and warm water.
Details: This is my home Y, so I have to be diplomatic or else they'll cancel my membership. Oh screw it. Unlike most swims, a workout at the Pleasant Hill Y leaves me more stressed out than if I'd just skipped it altogether. Damn, I say to myself, if only I'd gotten my ass out of bed before noon, I could have worked out for real at Heather Farms with my Masters team. Lap swim is very popular and you will almost always be circle swimming with dingbats who have no clue as to lane etiquette. That's right, honey, push off riiiiiight in front of me.
Good News: 25 yards, new facility, outdoors
The Bad News: A pain in the ass to find. Court Street curves around. I'm not Magellan, people.
Details: Oh, it's one of those Family Y's so you can't flip without giving some toddler a head injury.
- San Ramon
Pool: California High School
The Good News: Outdoors, fifty meters, a masters team, lane ropes, clocks, the works.
The Bad News: The deep end isn't too deep.
Details: I just swam at a meet for the first time in four years, and it was held at this pool. Despite the most painful 100 breastroke on record, I have forgiven the Cal High pool and shouldered some of the blame myself. Maybe it's time to shake up my Long Slow Distance self- coached workout plan. Yes, that's it...I will throw in a sprint or two every month. Problem solved! Anyway, if you are visiting the Bay Area and swimming at this pool, I hope you are getting out of sleepy San Ramon at night. San Francisco is just 40 minutes away, you putz.
- Santa Clara
Pool: International Swim Center
Good News: 50 meters, a diving well, a separate warm up pool, a long history in training great swimmmers.
The Bad News: Santa Clara is part of California's Silicon Valley. (Sorry for all that, world!) Abandon your soul at the door or you will be unable cash your stock options.
Details: Oh, I've swam many a sorry 200 breaststroke at this place. Returning to this pool for a recent Masters meet revived a long dormant post-traumatic stress disorder. I felt like Chesty Puller Jr., taking a vacation in Vietnam. I jumped under the bleachers every time the starter's beep sounded, including each time I was on the blocks. But I'm sure that YOU will enjoy it!
Pasty White Skin Review: 9. (Not a 10 only because some Boo Radleys from the night workout swam on Saturday).
- San Diego
Pool: The Pacific Ocean
SGOL Link: None.
Good News: Free.
The Bad News: No walls, no lane ropes, no kick boards, dead seals, live surfers and the shoreline moves to the right.
Details: I've never been a fan of the ocean. It's too big, I can't see the bottom and fish as a species give me the creepy-crawlies. Also, there are Communists on the other side of it, according to my dad. But my boyfriend insisted we dip our toes in the Pacific and I acquiesced, thinking I could talk him out of spending the afternoon in Tiajuana. (Wrong).
I downloaded a workout from the internet. The main set was title "Turn Work" and I did the whole thing. People, you know you have shitty turns when they improve in the ocean.
- Santa Monica
Good News: The water is cool, parking is free and my friend Cheryl's house is right around the corner. 25 yards, lane ropes, a clock, indoors, equipment.
The Bad News: The swimmers are, very midwestern in their stroke savvy and I contracted an infection. (see details)
Details: Two words: Pink Eye.
Pasty White Skin Review: 8. Southern California, even an indoor pools causes skin cancer.
- Santa Monica
Pool: Santa Monica Swim Center
Good News: 50 M pool, outdoors.
The Bad News: It's popular, the parking sucks and it costs 5 bucks.
Details: Crisp, clean water, gutters, equipment. Hang your head in shame, East Coast bitches, this is a real California pool.
- Walnut Creek
Pool: Clark Pool at Heather Farms
Good News: Outdoor, 50 meters, plenty of kickboards, pulling gear and all of our paceclocks are synchornized, baby. Pretty cheap at $3.00.
The Bad News: On weekends in the summertime, it's very popular with families. When I say families, I mean adults with small children, and when I say small children, I mean toddlers who aren't inclined to go to the restroom to pee. Capice?
Details: The Walnut Creek Masters team holds court at Heather Farms. Head Coach Kerry O'Brien and assistants Steve Stahl and Penny Leach reign over five practices a day. I am on the team roster and I usually make one practice a month. If you crash one our workouts, tell everyone I said Hi.
Pasty White Skin Review: 10- Oh, we're all on a frequent patient program at the local dermatologists' office.
Pool: Redwood Health Club
Good News: Outdoor, 25 yards, kickboards, clocks.
The Bad News: TEN dollars. In Ukiah. You bastards are lucky I'm in this shit town to begin with and I have to pay ten bucks to swim? You should pay me for bringing some life into snoresville. But I digress.
Details: Bring some sandals, because you have to walk over the rock-embedded, foot-thrashing concrete that surrounds the indoor pool to get to the outdoor pool. Some neglient mother let her kid wander into my lane but I showed him who was boss in this town in no time. I'm doing fly, kid- take that! I don't pay ten dollars so I can be polite to some commune-raised hippie brat who calls his mom "Sarah."
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