Configuration: 50 meters, indoors
The quest has begun! For the first swim of this project, I chose the pool where I’ve done the most swimming for the past couple of seasons, Riverbank State Park. TNYA buddies Lisa Lisa, Joe, and Piez joined me at noon for a leisurely workout during which we were able to commandeer our own lane.
There are many things to love about Riverbank. The price is right, the water is clear, the views out over the Hudson are fabulous, and people always seem so happy to be there, swimmers and staff alike. (Even when staff are practicing CPR en masse on a limbless dummy, as they were today.) The diversity of the clientele is amazing: aqua-joggers, people who are content to float while hugging a kickboard, the super-cute kids team, die-hard lap swimmers, and top-level athletes all have a place at Riverbank, and all are very friendly to one another. Equally amazing, this incredible place is hardly ever crowded.
I often swim first thing in the morning, soon after the pool opens at 6:30 a.m. At that time, I love watching light from the rising sun as it hits the buildings across the Hudson, gradually brightens the sky, and illuminates the eastern towers of the pool building. In the late afternoon, you’re best off with tinted goggles, since the sun shines right into the water.
The pool is about 9 hilly miles round-trip from my apartment, so a visit here also gives me a chance to enjoy a nice bike ride. Today’s was more challenging than usual, as the wind from the west was so strong that I had to walk my bike the final stretch of 120th Street before turning onto Riverside Drive. Of course, I also had to walk once I got to the park, as rules strictly prohibit biking. This is a state park, mind you, where you can drive a car or ride a bus. The indignity of having to walk my bike back to the pool building kept me away from this place for years, but I’m glad I finally got over that. Still, if I could change just one thing here, I wouldn’t mess with the fickle water temperature (pool or showers), the critters in the locker rooms, the nonfunctioning doors into the building, or the confusing system whereby you purchase a pool pass at a different location depending on the time of day. I would just allow bikes to be ridden in the park.
Gripe aside, it’s a great place to swim, and it felt right to kick off the project here. I really appreciate the eager participation of my swim buddies and am excited about the pool prospects we discussed today. 39 to go!
Update #1: See Riverbank’s Secrets, Revealed! for tips on making the most of your visit.
Update #2: As of fall 2013, the long course lap session goes until 8:30 a.m. every day. You now need a pre-paid card for entry, which generally cannot be obtained during the early morning session, but once you get one you can add to it remotely. The pool has some new murals too, and the lockers are now blue!