View Full Version : Swimming prohibited

Courteous Swimmer
August 16th, 2003, 12:35 PM
It's been a tough summer for me. I have not been getting in my laps as I have in the past.

I live in Forest Hills, Queens, NY. I work 45+ hours a week. My swimming options are limited. Here's why I have been missing workouts in the pool, while opting for dryland workouts:

YMHA(Young Men's Hebrew Association)

This is the closest pool to my house. Costs $400 a year. It's closed from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. The pool is clean and the staff is professional. But like most pools, the lap section is dominated by crusty old men and women who float or do doggy paddle, making laps impossible.

Queensboro Community College

Gotta take the LIE or Grand Central, so I'm facing traffic delays just to get to the pool. Very limited hours and it's closed three months out of the year. Sometimes the elderly take over the lap lanes for doggy paddle and floating.

Queens College

Nights only. Closed Friday.

Aspalt Green

The best pool in New York City area. Lots of lanes. Clean. Serious environment. It's 1:10 mins from home. It's so expensive. $875 is the cheapest rate. But I have to admit, swimming here is just awesome.

Wanted to let everyone know that I was asked to stop swimming at a lake in Pennsylvania on Thursday. I happened at Beltzville Lake Park. There are three sections. The center is where kids and families play. If it gets crowded, they open the side sections.

Before I hit the water, I told the lifeguard that I'd be swimming in the empty section to avoid colliding with everyone. After about 30 minutes, another lifeguard told me that I have to swim in the center section with everyone else.

I exploded!!!!!!

This was the straw the broke the camel's back. I told the lifeguard that this is wrong. You have this big lake, with kids splashing and pissing in the water, adults on speed boats and jet skies, but a man can't actually SWIM in the water.

So I've come to the conclusion that if I'm going to maintain a fit lifestyle, I'm only going to be able to swim once a week. I'll have to hit the gym the rest of the week, where I'm guaranteed to get a complete, uninterrupted workout.

It's a shame, but most pools emphasize horseplay by kids or attract elderly people who just take up space. You'd never see this in the weight room or on the cardio equipment. I wish I could say the same about the pool.

August 16th, 2003, 03:54 PM
Just an idea, but is there a high school pool close by? Sometimes Boards of Ed. will be open to scheduling lap swim time during the off hours. They hire high school swimmers to guard, charge a few bucks to swim and end up with positive feedback from their district members. It might be worth a try to suggest it.

August 16th, 2003, 05:14 PM
My team (very briefly) rented pool time at a NYC high school. The late, unlamented, New York City Board of Education was the model of a difficult bureaucracy -- which is why it's been abolished. They were never very interested in public use of school facilities. They also did a terrible job of maintaining them. Hopefully, the new Department of Education that replaced the board (and reports to the Mayor) is different.

But, offhand, I can think of a couple of possibilities. Have you tried the Flushing Y? Also, there is (or was, I'm not sure of its current status) a masters team at St. John's University -- you might look into that.

August 16th, 2003, 05:17 PM
Hi there,

Wow- Iím really sympathetic! I can completely empathise with what you said about how the old people can float in the water, the wee ones (every pun intended!) canÖwell, pee in it, but it is almost impossible to actually SWIM in most public swim placesÖ Iíve had out and out near fist fights in the public pools in central London- there have been many, many times that I can home FUMING, cursing every form of pool lifeÖ Actually, the reason that I became interested in Masters swimming was so that I could actually get in the pool and SWIM!

On that note (and Iím sure that Iím not going to suggest anything that you havenít already done), have you sought out a masters group? What about a J.C.C.? They sometimes have swim teams for adultsÖ the Y? Any really early local lap swims??

Again, I know that it can be frustratingÖand time consuming! Out of all the sports that Iíve done over the years, swimming, for some reason or another, can sometimes be the most problematic (Iím currently having issues with my dear husband about my newly acquired habit of getting up at 5am to get to a 6am practice- geez, some people are such light sleepers! ;) )- and the most rewarding!!

Good luck!

jean sterling
August 16th, 2003, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by eliana2003
Hi there,

(Iím currently having issues with my dear husband about my newly acquired habit of getting up at 5am to get to a 6am practice- geez, some people are such light sleepers! ;) )- and the most rewarding!!

Good luck!

When I decided to go to swim practice at 6 AM, my husband thought I was crazy. Maybe he was right?? :-) What is fortunate for me is that he is a heavy sleeper.

August 16th, 2003, 10:55 PM
It sounds like my old high school since its now a barrio high school swimming for the general public is limted to summer time. What I suggest is a combination of public and private pools. Find a club pool even if its less than 25 yards and use it a couple of times a week and try to use one of those public pools 1 or twice a week.

August 17th, 2003, 12:14 AM
You're not alone. I'm experiencing similar difficulties in Washington. It seems that in a city of any size there are no convenient answers.

I lived in New York (Flatbush, Brooklyn) for a while, so I understand the travel times involved. If I were there now and didn't happen to have my life laid out so that there was a pool along the way somewhere, I would probably give it up too.

In my next move, I'll probably take pool location into account when looking for an apartment. That's the advantage of a journalist's gypsy lifestyle; I can pick up after a year and reconfigure.

Good luck.

August 17th, 2003, 09:18 PM
Shaky, you must not be looking hard - if you actually live in DC proper (read: not in Maryland or Virginia) there are many places you can go swim. Come and swim at Hains Point at the 5:30 am practice next summer - I guarantee that you will get in some good long course workouts. Or, you can keep practicing your combat skills at your YMCA :D .

By the way, I'm still waiting for a rematch with you in the 50 Back - I still think I might be able to beat you despite your "dolphin kick underwater as long as legal/possible" strategy.


August 18th, 2003, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by vkanders
By the way, I'm still waiting for a rematch with you in the 50 Back - I still think I might be able to beat you despite your "dolphin kick underwater as long as legal/possible" strategy.

I have no idea what you're talking about. I think you have me confused with someone else. You'd probably beat me anyway, because I never claimed to be very fast.

On the other subject, I actually live in NoVa and take the Metro to my office in DC, right near the Y. (It's easier just to say "DC" than to explain where Rosslyn is.) Every other pool I've investigated will either add expense I can't afford or time to my day that I don't have. Most of the best options involve driving, which would add considerable time to my day to switch off between car and metro or cost me another $225 per month to park near my office in the city.

If you have a suggestion, I'd be glad to look at it. But let's not make this about me. This is Courteous Swimmer's complaint thread. ;)

August 18th, 2003, 10:58 AM
Hey, I never claimed to be fast either; specifically, I'm a distance swimmer and wouldn't know how to sprint if it were life or death. Alas, not the first time I've gotten people mixed up - probably not the first time today, and it's not even 11 am.

Which YMCA do you swim at - the National Capital? From September to May, a few of us get together in the mornings there from about 6:30-7:30, and you'd be more than welcome to join us - we don't officially have a lane, but we sort of just swim an organized workout and everybody else clears out of our way trembling in fear :D . Unfortunately, I'm moving to Boston in this week for the next two years, so I can't tell you when we're starting up again. You can also workout with the official master's group, although we practice from 7-8 at night which isn't as convenient for people commuting into the city.

Something else I've found that has worked at pools almost everywhere - scope out a swimmer about the same speed as you who appears to be in misery with the comotion around, and ask them if they'd like to do a workout. I travel constantly for work, so I try this a lot, and seldom do I find myself turned down.

Finally, kudos to you for being a non-car commuter here. Those of us who live in DC and have asthma appreciate people like you a lot :).


Matt S
August 18th, 2003, 11:48 AM
Maybe I'm missing something here? Since this is the US MASTERS Swimming web site, has anyone thought about finding a US MASTERS swim team they can join. There are numerous clubs listed for both New York and DC here (http://www.usms.org/placswim/search.php), and you can find some of their web sites here (http://www.usms.org/links/usmsclubs.htm). I would challenge ANYONE to explain to me how they cannot find a team in two of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the nation.

If you are on a MASTERS team, you do not have to worry about kids, dog-paddlers or jet-skis. Your team has the pool for the workout time, and everyone there knows the drill. PLUS, you usually get a coached workout (or at least one that someone else prepared, so you stay out of your rut) and the camaraderie of your teammates. Many teams actually have lower dues to join the team than what you would pay to be a member of the facility they use (you are merely limited to the times the team has the pool).

So, drop the Lone Ranger routine, and join the collective. Resistance is futile. ;)


August 18th, 2003, 12:20 PM
In fairness to CourteousSwimmer, NYC covers a very big area. Most of the NYC Masters teams are based in Manhattan; Forest Hills is a fairly long distance away (about an hour by subway; driving not recommended).

There may be Masters programs at both the Flushing Y and St. John's University (there were in the past, I don't know their current status, because both were part of bigger clubs). Both are in adjacent areas of Queens (SJU is about five minutes from Forest Hills). Otherwise, the most convenient Masters team to Forest Hills would probably be the YWCA at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan (the E train from Continental Avenue to Lexington Ave.).

August 18th, 2003, 12:39 PM
I noticed that Courteous Swimmer mentioned he works 45+ hours per week. If he's like me, his schedule just doesn't fit with the regularly scheduled workouts available.

I have looked at the various swimming schedules for the masters teams in my area, and I may be able to make one or two practices a week at most. Other times I'm working straight through the times they would be practicing, or I'm out of town. Plus, it changes from week to week.

That regularly scheduled workout must be nice for those of you with regularly scheduled jobs and regularly scheduled lives. Mine ain't like that, and I suspect CS's isn't either.

Courteous Swimmer
August 19th, 2003, 12:46 AM
Men can't swim at the YWCA on 53rd. I'm going to look into St.John's University. That's close to home. So is Queens College.

In light of my current fitness goals(get back to 34 inch waist), and work schedule, I've decided that the following will be my workout for the next year:

Workout three days a week-

Workout one- Swim for one hour

Workout two- Jog for 30 minutes

Workout three- Lift weights for 40 minutes/Jog 30 minutes

Even though I live in Queens, I'll make the trip to Asphalt Green once a week for a serious, uninterrupted swim. Let's hope I shed 20 pounds in six months.

August 19th, 2003, 01:44 AM
Originally posted by Courteous Swimmer
Men can't swim at the YWCA on 53rd.

Where did you hear that? There are many men on the YW Masters team. (I'm a member of a different club, but I know the YW team very well.) I suggest you contact Conrad Johnson, the coach, at CJohnson@ywcanyc.org (212-735-9812) for more information, if you're interested.

But, many of the Manhattan based teams have workout schedules that accommodate swimmers who can only make one practice per week (That's my situation, as well, but I swim on my own at Asphalt Green every night.)

Since you're going to Asphalt Green once a week anyway, have you considered talking to one of the Masters coaches about joining one of their workout groups? They have workouts every night and, I believe, Saturday and Sunday morning.

My team (Red Tide) has practices on Saturday and Sunday mornings at Baruch College (24th and Lexington) and Sunday afternoons at John Jay College (58th St and Tenth Ave.), as well as a special membership plan for swimmers who can only come once per week (we also have workouts weekday mornings and evenings). The only catch here is that we're very competition oriented and we expect members to come to at least two meets per year (we don't care how you do -- win or lose -- just show up).

You should also check out the Metropolitan LMSC website at www.metroswim.org

Matt S
August 19th, 2003, 09:17 AM
Nice work everyone. This is the kind of useful discussions we ought to be having.

Shakey: thanks for your temperately worded response to my tartly worded suggestion. I appreciate your restraint in not turning this into a urinating contest. BTW, that was a superb post you put up the other day on the weight loss thread. I genuinely look forward to hearing your thoughts; I'd simply like to steer the conversation away from the travails of lap swimming with non-swimmers. Heard your point. Got it. No need to flog that horse any more. I am a bit surprised to hear that people don't tend to get out of your way. Maybe it's a New York thing. Your 10x 100 IM on 2:00 tell me that you are not a schlub, in fact we are pretty close in ability. Yet, I have generally found that when I go to open lap swim, most of the other folks are not at all eager to jump in front of me (and I am a very average 69" tall, so I don't have any Ray Lewis size kind of thing going for me). Maybe it's the old water polo player's instinct to dominate my personal space in the water?


August 19th, 2003, 09:51 AM
Matt, it's not a "New York thing" -- Shaky's in DC :p. I'm in New York and I rarely have problems with other swimmers (or "non-swimmers") :).

August 19th, 2003, 10:16 AM
I think the reason people don't get out of the way is that they are clueless. It may be a Washington thing, because although I have encountered the attitude in other places, I've never encountered it in the unusual volume in which it exists in my pool. In spite of the interesting collection of brilliant minds here, Washington does seem to be one of the more generally clueless places I've lived.

Let me clarify the situation a little. Elsewhere I have described at great length the people who cause trouble, but not everyone is clueless. Sometimes someone will get into the fast lane and try to swim a couple of laps, then realize that he's outmatched and move to a slower lane. Some will stay because the other lanes are too crowded, but will make a great effort to stay out of the way by keeping track of where the faster swimmers are and resting at the end of the pool long enough to allow them to go past (that's what I do when I'm outmatched). I really don't mind swimming with those people. It's the ones who continually get in the way, have no control over where they go or generally ignore pool etiquette that bug me.

Maybe it's just that this Y advertises its pool as one of its major benefits and cultivates an "everyone can swim" attitude, using the pool to attract dollars without consideration for the quality of the experience. I just don't have the time, money or luck with my schedule to go anywhere else, and one scheduled workout per week with a masters team not only doesn't solve the problem, but also just wouldn't be worth the expense or effort to make it work.

In other words, I'm screwed until I can move somewhere more accommodating. I'm learning to accept that, even if I do whine about it too much.