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View Full Version : Poll: Is this the worst pool in America?



JimRude
February 10th, 2011, 04:30 PM
Yes, yes, I know... you all think that your pool is the worst (except those that train at UT or IUPUI). But before you vote, consider this:

- indoor 6-lane 25 yard pool, L-shaped
- built in 1969, with negligible upgrades since
- heated to at least 85 degrees
- operated by the city at a significant loss every year
- closes for three to four weeks every year (two for upgrades - aka cleaning - and two for "budgetary reasons")
- shared by the city, the high school, the local university and the swim club
- vacuumed once a week ("whether it needs it or not")
- lifeguards cannot be moved from their plastic chairs on the deck
- for lap swim, only two lane lines put in - not in lifeguards' job description to put in more
- patrons blatantly ignore the lane signs indicating "fast", "medium" and "slow"
- lifeguards do not enforce the above
- patrons of all types refuse to circle swim, and instead swim next to each other (again, with few or no lane lines)
- healthy mix of college girls in bikinis, college boys in board shorts, noodlers, and elementary backstrokers

Poll opens now.

couldbebetterfly
February 10th, 2011, 09:08 PM
Well I don't even swim at the pool in my city due to the following:

6 lane 25yd L-shaped run by the ISD I believe
Heated to whatever
6 lane lines, but only 1 dedicated lap lane due to it being used by:
3 High school swim & dive teams
1 Summer swim team with off-season programs
Private lessons
Learner lessons
Closes regularly due to swim meets and ISD holidays
Doesn't even publish the public opening times
Has a slippy stainless steel gutter so you slide on turns
Rarely vacuumed
Never sure if the lifeguards are awake
Costs more to hire than the new shiny 50m facility approx 15 miles away, so funnily enough that is where the summer team hosts their meets!

I did swim in it once, in a free lane during my daughter's swim practice, and vowed never again. Poor kid - she was there every morning through the summer.

no200fly
February 10th, 2011, 09:42 PM
Yes, yes, I know... you all think that your pool is the worst (except those that train at UT or IUPUI).

You should have seen the old UT pool. It was 33 1/3 yards with a fixed metal bulkhead. The lines on the bottom did not track the center of the lanes. It was dark with most of the light dependent on windows. The Jamail Swim Center is a big step up.

Apparently the old pool is still open - it looks like they have cleaned it up a bit, but otherwise its about the same.

http://www.utrecsports.org/facilities/reservations/res_gre_natatorium.php

EJB190
February 10th, 2011, 11:05 PM
I have two pools that top my worst

1) A Connecticut High School that I will not name
- Went to the HS for a meet, we followed the scent of chlorine to find the pool
- The locker rooms looked like something out of a Saw movie, sketchiest and grungiest place ever. They were dark, damp, and smelled of mold. In keeping with Saw, there was even a small amount of blood on the floor in the showers!
- Got in the water... Temperature was at least 85 degrees, it was like bathwater
- The water did not taste like chlorine despite the smell. It tasted like SWEAT.
- Everyone was disgusted to say the least

2) A certain YMCA in the Boston Area
- Pool is only 3 lanes
- The frequent Family Swim time takes reduces lap swimming to one lane and Water aerobics close the pool for lap swimming
- Has to be one of the oldest pools around, or that I've ever seen
- The water is 82-84 degrees
- Vacuumed... Never? Always a ton of sand in the bottom of the pool (I imagine they use a sand filter).
- I've had 2 CA-MRSA (staph) infections using this pool (I no longer go here to say the least)
- I've witnessed the only lifeguard talking on his cell phone for about a half hour
- Many patrons do not understand the concept of circle swim, and half that do don't understand that if they're doing breast and I'm doing anything else, they should not be in front of me.
- One time I was swimming and they turned off the lights to test a projector for their watching a movie in the pool event (just sounds dangerous thing to do- have a bunch of little children float around in an unlit room with everyone around them distracted by a movie)..
- Things I've found in the pool...

1) Hair Balls
2) A Baby Carrot (vomit????)
3) A Wrench

---
There is a possible 3rd- Another high school in CT where the diving blocks were literally boxes made out of plywood that would wobble to back and forth on the uneven tile floor. It was a little dangerous and could throw off your drive. Additionally, the shallow end of the pool was probably just over 3ft deep and for some it was difficult to make a flip turn without touching the bottom with their feet.

Redbird Alum
February 11th, 2011, 01:23 PM
You had me until the college co-eds part.

orca1946
February 11th, 2011, 01:58 PM
Hey EJB - those blocks could be the ones we made in wood shop for Reavis H S ,Burbank Il in 1961 for our 1st team!!!

EJB190
February 11th, 2011, 02:47 PM
Hey EJB - those blocks could be the ones we made in wood shop for Reavis H S ,Burbank Il in 1961 for our 1st team!!!

Haha, if that's the case they're still holding up (kinda). I can see why they use them though. Blocks are so expensive ($2500-$5000 each).

pendaluft
February 11th, 2011, 03:46 PM
Here's Mine:
4 lanes/ 25 yards -- lanes are about 5.5 feet wide.
Metal ladders protrude into end lanes to smash your hands when swimming fly.
Water temperature varies from 84 - 88 -- they lost their thermometer so the pool maintenance guy sticks his hand in the water and then writes a temp on the board (I bought my own thermometer and this guy's hand can be off by as much as 2 degrees).
They make you wear a cap which makes the high temp worse.
Lane lines sag into your lane.
Pace clocks often run out of batteries.
Today the toilet in the men's locker room flooded.

But on the bright side:
At 5:30a I always have my own lane and often my own pool.
Batteries for the pace clock don't take up much room in my bag
Its 5 blocks from my house

jim clemmons
February 11th, 2011, 05:32 PM
I can see why they use them though. Blocks are so expensive ($2500-$5000 each).

That brings up a very interesting point. Why the heck are blocks so darn expensive? 6 blocks, even a "semi-decent" price of $2k each (if you can find it) - where is the $12,000 worth of engineering, materials, and labor exactly? They are not that complicated...:bitching:

fatboy
February 11th, 2011, 05:52 PM
That brings up a very interesting point. Why the heck are blocks so darn expensive? 6 blocks, even a "semi-decent" price of $2k each (if you can find it) - where is the $12,000 worth of engineering, materials, and labor exactly? They are not that complicated...:bitching:

How much to get them approved by FINA, US Swimming, NCAA, High School leagues, etc? Must be part of the cost......Surely not $2k each though...

KEWebb18
February 11th, 2011, 08:52 PM
My college pool was built in 1929. We celebrated its 70th anniversary!
Probably only 4 lanes wide, but we squeezed 6 lanes in.
Slimy, slippery deck.
Windows blocked over in WWII for something (I can't remember why).
Wobbly blocks that weren't fully bolted in or bolts were rusted (I was terrified of them!)
Lane 5 (where I usually swam with the other sprinters) had this horrible jet on the wall that would push you into the lane line if you swam into it, which made flip turns bad.
No ventilation.
Random things floating around.
Usually shut down for various reasons several times a year, and we got to swim at a MUCH nicer pool across town for our home meets (where they held many Olympic trials).
Horrible itchy rashes were common from chemicals being off.

It was shut down for good a few years ago; the last time I was on campus it had a chain over the door. Not sure what they plan on doing with it. I think that after swimming in that pool for a few years, any pool is bearable! They finally built a much nicer pool on campus.

Bobinator
February 11th, 2011, 10:35 PM
My college pool was built in 1929. We celebrated its 70th anniversary!
Probably only 4 lanes wide, but we squeezed 6 lanes in.
Slimy, slippery deck.
Windows blocked over in WWII for something (I can't remember why).
Wobbly blocks that weren't fully bolted in or bolts were rusted (I was terrified of them!)
Lane 5 (where I usually swam with the other sprinters) had this horrible jet on the wall that would push you into the lane line if you swam into it, which made flip turns bad.
No ventilation.
Random things floating around.
Usually shut down for various reasons several times a year, and we got to swim at a MUCH nicer pool across town for our home meets (where they held many Olympic trials).
Horrible itchy rashes were common from chemicals being off.

It was shut down for good a few years ago; the last time I was on campus it had a chain over the door. Not sure what they plan on doing with it. I think that after swimming in that pool for a few years, any pool is bearable! They finally built a much nicer pool on campus.

I remember that pool Katie!!!! I have taken a couple of dips in it; you're not exaggerating a bit!
The new pool is very nice but hardly anyone gets to use it without paying a huge fee. Sometimes progress can be a step backwards in that case.

knelson
February 11th, 2011, 11:28 PM
Apparently the old pool is still open - it looks like they have cleaned it up a bit, but otherwise its about the same.

In all seriousness I think this looks like a really neat old pool.

KEWebb18
February 12th, 2011, 08:47 AM
I remember that pool Katie!!!! I have taken a couple of dips in it; you're not exaggerating a bit!
The new pool is very nice but hardly anyone gets to use it without paying a huge fee. Sometimes progress can be a step backwards in that case.

It's sad that they don't make it more accessible to those who live in the neighborhood.

Bobinator
February 12th, 2011, 08:50 AM
It's sad that they don't make it more accessible to those who live in the neighborhood.

I guess Indy Swim Fit rents it 4 nights per week.
I have a friend who is a professor in the P.E. Department at the college. She does not use the facility; she said it's too expensive. I can't believe their faculty has to pay.

EJB190
February 12th, 2011, 03:19 PM
That brings up a very interesting point. Why the heck are blocks so darn expensive? 6 blocks, even a "semi-decent" price of $2k each (if you can find it) - where is the $12,000 worth of engineering, materials, and labor exactly? They are not that complicated...:bitching:

I have no idea. It's not like its exactly a sophisticated piece of engineering.

A few years ago the pool boy dropped the platform of my backyard pool's diving board onto the stone ground, cracking it. It was a $1000 mistake. As I recall the total cost of the diving board + base was around $1500.

Maybe that plastic grippy surface that the platforms are made out of is really costly to produce? I kinda doubt that though.

Jim B.
February 12th, 2011, 03:39 PM
The pool I swim at sucks but I try not to focus on that.

Ripple
February 13th, 2011, 10:04 AM
...
- patrons blatantly ignore the lane signs indicating "fast", "medium" and "slow"
- lifeguards do not enforce the above
...
- healthy mix of college girls in bikinis, college boys in board shorts, noodlers, and elementary backstrokers...
I think you'll find these things in any public pool. Some people think they're faster than they really are, some think they're slower, some just look for a lane with few people in it because they don't want to be crowded. Perhaps some left their glasses in the locker and can't read the signs. The lifeguards should be imposing circle swimming at least, but the only guards that I've ever seen actually do that were the mature unionized city employees in my home town. Where I'm living now, most guards are very young and unwilling to to give orders to adults.

As for the last item, I just consider it training for open water to make my way through the bodies. Noodles aren't allowed in the lap lane area, although there are few elderly people doing vertical breaststroke that I have to find my way around. And I just love it when the college boys in board shorts decide to "race" me. Yo, dude, lose your grandpa's bermuda shorts and get a swimsuit already! Then you wouldn't be humiliated by a pudgy 52 year old woman!

AnnG
February 13th, 2011, 11:35 AM
The worst pool in the world would be no pool at all . . .

Rnovitske
February 13th, 2011, 11:54 AM
Reading through the first four reasons, and I thought you lived here in Fairfax County. But we consider 85 degrees on the cool side. All in all, your pool sounds worse.

mikeh
February 13th, 2011, 06:10 PM
Why, you children are spoiled rotten! :cane: Let me tell you my Dickensian tale of aquatic neglect and woe.

When I swam for my high school swim team in Texas in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s we drove to a pool across down every day for practice. In the winter a gigantic plastic/latex bubble was put over the pool in order to keep it heated. The bubble was moldy and discolored, and probably a nesting place for every allergen known to man. I doubt it was ever cleaned once during the years it “protected” us from the elements. Enormous fans worked day and night to keep the bubble inflated. There was an outer door and inner door; to open both at once would cause a monstrous gust of wind as huge amounts of air escaped the bubble all at once; children would literally be tossed aside by the sudden gale.

Every so often the pool staff would shock the pool with massive amounts of chemicals. One day I began the workout with a navy blue swimsuit; I ended it with a light gray suit, the color literally being stripped off it by the toxic chemicals that had been dumped in the water. Our coach forced us to swim anyway and we were sick for days thereafter, hair brittle and discolored, reeking of chlorine.

Our "dressing room” was a concrete cage with sizable gaps between the roof and walls. When it rained there was standing water on the floor, and in the winter we would freeze. The occasional rat would saunter by. The pool and the locker room were clearly not made with year-round use in mind; dressing there was real adventure.

A few years after I graduated I am told part of the bubble literally tore off and floated through the air to the street. If that is true I wish I had been there. I would have enjoyed raising a maniacal laugh of victory, shaking my fist in defiance as the wretched plastic bubble floated serenely away. That’s assuming of course I avoided being knocked unconscious from the sudden mad rush of air hurling me to the ground.

Opposing teams would arrive at our pool for a meet and it was interesting to gauge their reaction upon entering; think Luke Skywalker the first time he saw the Millennium Falcon. Except our pool could not go .5 past light speed, and could not make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. In fact some of us were convinced the pool was some strange distance; not exactly 25 meters but not 25 yards either – we seemed to swim times there we never swam anywhere else.

I know…the only thing missing from my account is that we had to walk uphill both ways. :blah: Despite the above I consider my high school swim experience to be basically positive. My town was a football town, first and last, and I should feel blessed we had a team at all. It kept me in the water until I became a Masters swimmer when I truly learned to love the sport.

knelson
February 13th, 2011, 08:02 PM
My high school pool wasn't the worst pool (I know because a couple others in our conference were worse), but I just thought of something interesting about it. It was a four lane pool, so during practice the middle lane rope was left out because the divers practiced at the same time (the board was right between lanes two and three). So the divers had to time their dives to avoid the swimmers and the swimmers in the middle lanes had no lane rope on one side. Luckily I always swam in the wall lane so didn't have to deal with that. That's probably the only time I ever liked practicing in the wall lane!

You wouldn't have thought so, but it was actually a fairly fast pool. The pool records were good.

That Guy
February 13th, 2011, 09:47 PM
Dickensian tale

Luke Skywalker the first time he saw the Millennium Falcon. Except our pool could not go .5 past light speed, and could not make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

One of us is confused, and it's not me. :D

no200fly
February 13th, 2011, 10:51 PM
In all seriousness I think this looks like a really neat old pool.

It was fast - probably because they had a lot of big meets there. I did my best HS times there. At the time, though, they hat the old blue-green small tile on the deck and in the pool. The ceilinghad a sprayed on insulation that was dirty and falling off.

I guess anything looks bad when compared to the new UT facility.

JeffJotz
February 14th, 2011, 09:05 AM
My HS team practiced in was a local YMCA. It was a 4 lane pool with minimal windows. Pool temps were in the mid-80s. The lanes were extremely narrow, meaning that you smashed knuckles with swimmers going in the other direction on fly or freestyle. The lane lines were old-school ropes with 5 or 6 buoys spaced. I remember a few mornings arriving at the pool at 5:30 a.m. and the pool temp was 90 and the color of the pool water was kelly green. We warmed up and that was about it.

Even with the crappy pool, my HS swim team was still ranked #5 in the US in Swimming World my sophomore year and won the state championship handily.

Berkeley Aquatics Masters has a large and successful Masters team, and their pool is pretty lousy. One wall is a homemade bulkhead with no lip or gutter, making butterfly and breaststroke turns almost impossible. They are building a new facility nearby so there is hope!

mikeh
February 14th, 2011, 07:18 PM
One of us is confused, and it's not me. :D

No, no - I constantly mix metaphors. My motto is: In every cloud, there is a horse of a silver lining.

Brendan Hayes
November 8th, 2012, 01:03 PM
Have you tried the Benbrook, Texas YMCA pool?
25 yards, 6 lanes, tons of water walkers, temp is 85-86.
The walkers will stop you mid lap to remind you you are splashing too much.
The Y aquatic directors are spineless and will not resist the walker in regards to the pool temps.
I swim there when I need a good sinus infection.....

MickYoung
November 8th, 2012, 01:35 PM
I'm happy with the University of Pittsburgh pools. Very, very happy.

A few decades ago, when I was a student here, it was not so nice.

World class pool, but no lane lanes for rec swim. This was OK up to about 2 swimmers per lane, but ugly after that. There were frequent harsh words between swimmers and occasional fisticuffs.

Rec swim would sometimes be in a much smaller pool.

The clock would run 6 or 7 minutes fast and the lifeguards would order people out a few mintues before that, so if you hit the pool half an hour before official cloosing time (as I often would), you were hosed.

For a while, there was some guy that would show up for the most crowded swim time in the small pool. He was buffed with long hair, beard and speedos.With a general "in-your-face" manner.

He would survey the pool, pick a space (not really a lane, no lane lines) next to the most comely female swimmer. No matter how crowded that space would be. No matter how open some other part of the pool would be. (not very open, but still...) He had his priorities, after all.

He would dive in (reading the "no diving" sign was, evidently, beyond his literary skills) and proceed to do about 20 yards of splashy, unstraight "butterfly" sprint, then turn around and repeat.

There are very few people I know this information about, but he was pretty good with his fists, too. I know this from watching, not participating.

I think he was eventually banned, but it it was a long time before the other problems improved.

After that rec swim hell, pretty much anything looks good to me.

Now, the same facilities are well run. I always thank the lifeguards when I'm done.