Pool: Town Lake YMCA
The Good News: 25 yards, six lanes, a separate lap pool, semi-decent lap swim hours, one high-placed pace clock, towels, kickboards, pull bouys.
The Bad News: Water is 84 degrees, and the pool is popular so if you aren't sharing a lane, you're circling.
Details: Due to a shaving incident, I dove in one Sunday afternoon with a collage of waterproof band-aids on my ankle. Since I paid extra for band-aids advertised as "flexible for athletes" and "resistant to water," they fell off during warm up. I caught them all but one, and as my eyes skimmed the water's surface, a guy said, "did you lose something?" I wasn't about to say, "yes, a band-aid," so I said "yes, a diamond ring." How was I supposed to know that guy would actually find a diamond ring? I'm just glad it fit. Oh, I finally found my last band-aid, along with someone else's hairball and a toe, which I promptly returned to the Water Aerobics for Lepers class.
- Pool: University of Texas
The Good News: Hubba hubba hubba. Where to begin? Crisp cool water, fifty meters with a bulkhead and it's just damn fast. The records board is so cool- nearly every name on it belongs to an Olympian.
The Bad News: Including parking, it's little pricey...but, like L'Oreal, I'm worth it.
Details: I'm very grateful that I was able to mooch a few workouts with Texas Aquatics Masters, coached by the eternally patient and upbeat Shaun Jordan. (And you can see his name on the aforementioned records board). Tues, Thurs and Fri offer up a noon workout. The facilty cost five dollars per session and bring your checkbook because they don't take cash and they don't take American Express. I parked at a lot near the stadium (three dollars for two hours) and then hiked forty miles to the swim center.
- Pool: East Communities YMCA
The Good News: Blue Skies, and sparkling clean water. Also, each time I went, it was empty. And the lifeguards mind their own business while playing heavy metal.
The Bad News: The lane ropes are ropes, so the water's crazy wavy. The kickboards are warped. Why not spread your arms across a basketball- the surface will be flatter.
Details: A brand new Y in the less financially endowed East side of Austin. The airport's a few miles away, and planes zoom overhead. The locker rooms aren't gross yet, but give 'em a few years- it is a Y after all.
Pool: The Y
The Good News: 25 yards, six lanes, a few lane ropes, kickboards.
The Bad News: Oh God. It's a converted outdoor pool- a plastic bubble shields us from both the elements and good taste.
Details: This pool depressed me so much- I truly considered changing my citzenship during warm up. Oh, everyone was nice all right. The aerobics ladies bounced up and down to "Going to the Chapel," even though most of them are at an age that puts a different spin on goin to a chapel. Beaumont is one of those towns that grow serial killers and you can see why. It's in a time warp and just seven hundred yards in this pool made me want to take out a post office. Go Home!
- El Paso
Pool: Westside Pool
The Good News: Open 7 days, 25 yards, indoors, six roped lanes, kickboards, a paceclock visible from both ends and it's only $1.25.
The Bad News: The water is a bit warm, but so is El Paso. Oh, and you're in for altitude training.
Details: A guy in lane two was talking on a cell phone. I wanted to tell him, hey pal, you're in El Paso. Unless you're calling your travel agent for plane tickets to anywhere, give it up.
I took the bus to the pool, and you'll want to not do that. You'll especially want to not do that during commute hours, when the hot sticky Sun Metro is full with hot sticky workers who don't appreciate that your Zoomer-filled gym bag needs its own seat. During my warmup, I asked the lifeguard what the elevation was and she said she didn't know but that it was high. That made me feel better. There's nothing more humiliating than hitching a ride out the pool in the handicap lift, convinced you have been caught unawares by elevation only to be told that the city you are visiting is at sea level. But enough about San Diego.
Pool: Downtown YMCA
The Good News: 25 yards, indoors, all the lane ropes are in, kickboards and a jacuzzi in the bathroom. Nice cool water.
The Bad News: Four lanes and a few kids here and there. The paceclock is blocked by wall extensions at the deep end, so you can't use it to do 25's etc.
Details: Cool water in a Y pool? I am as amazed as you are. The pool is open for lap swim all day long; go during off-peak hours and you'll get your own lane. I had to share only on Sunday. It's free with a Y card and not too much without one.
By the way, I hope you hippie Baby Boomer types are regretting all the acid you took in the '60's. If not, allow me to introduce you to the Singing Kicker. This Joni Mitchell lookalike belts out Joan Osbourne's "What if God Were One of Us?" during her kick sets, and the acoustics of an indoor pool make for some Karioke-style cringing. Honey, I think if God were one of us, He'd beat you to death with a paceclock. Put a cork in it.
- San Antonio
Pool: Downtown YMCA
The Good News: Cool water, paceclock, kickboards, pull buoys.
The Bad News: Four lanes, but even so it's rarely crowded. I doubt you'll ever have to circle. And the Y is closed on Sundays. What's up with that? Are you Christians going to church all goddamn day?
Details: A swim team works out here prior to evening lap swim. One girl asked me if I was an Olympian, and since I am not, I told her "of course," and spent the next hour signing autographs. I hope I spelled Egerzegi correctly.
Locations Alabama • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Canada • Colorado • England • Georgia • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Louisiana • Michigan •
Minnesota • Missouri • Montana • Nevada • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • South
Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Virginia • Washington