40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#3: John Jay College Pool

on January 10, 2012

John Jay's emerald pool

Location: Midtown, Manhattan

Configuration: 5 lanes, indoors

Fee: $13.33 with TNYA Splash Card

Total to Date: $40.33

My first swim as a 40-year-old was here at John Jay with my team, TNYA. Some 500 strong, Team New York is the most fun, friendly, talented, and supportive group of people I could ever imagine, in and out of the water. I am so glad to be part of it and never, ever regret waking up at the crack of dawn to swim with them. My team also gets the credit for making a pool tourist out of me, between the pool-curious teammates I’ve met, the annual training trip to a gorgeous outdoor pool complex in Fort Lauderdale, and competition opportunities all around the world.

I usually go to the Thursday morning workout at John Jay with Coach Brad, but I’ll be traveling to more far-flung pools that day(!!!), so I came to this workout with Coach Sean instead. That’s me in lane 2 with Jack, Ron, KC-visiting-from-LA, and Joe. Thanks to Lisa Lisa for taking the picture.

One of the great things about swimming a coached workout is you are told what to do. Everything is scripted, from the warm-up to the cool-down, so you don’t have the option of changing your mind and doing a less-challenging workout than you originally planned, which sometimes happens to me when I swim on my own. (I used to swim with my team several times per week, but I reduced my subscription plan when I was training for marathon swims and needed to do higher yardage.)  Plus, the workouts can be very creative, with special theme sets such as Thanksgiving dinner and the Twelve Days of Christmas. I have loads of fun memories from this pool, and I always laugh a lot here.

There is an elephant in the room at John Jay, though, and today it’s a jade elephant. The pool has been a rich shade of green since it reopened last week following repairs and holiday closures. This poor pool, commonly referred to as the Swamp, is the least consistent of the venues I swim in, with extreme fluctuations in temperature and chemical balance and all-to-frequent closures due to things like, oh, the health department as well as meets and maintenance. On the plus side, the lanes are really wide, the pace clocks have just been adjusted so that there’s a working one on either end of the pool, and my favorite type of kickboard is available here.

The green water took a bit of getting used to from an aesthetic perspective, but by the end of the workout it seemed normal. It’s one of those situations where the alternative–losing six TNYA workouts a week–is even worse than the status quo, so we put up with it and hope swimming in a Swamp makes us stronger.

Should you wish to visit John Jay, there are some options for individuals, and my team welcomes drop-ins. May the Swamp be with you.

4 responses to “#3: John Jay College Pool

  1. […] options yet were surprisingly blasé about the beautiful facility. A trip or two to my team’s basement pools would add to their […]

  2. […] 1994 fitness center was designed by Rafael Viñoly. His firm is also responsible for the John Jay College pool and the building in which I spend my workdays, both places I’m very fond of despite their […]

  3. Kern says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. Walk-in swam twice for TNYA morning w/o in summer of 2015. Felt welcomed. Think there were 6 in just about every lane both days. Pool clean but throat burned rest of day after the first day. 5000 yards in 90 minutes both times.

  4. […] John Jay College Pool is–or was–my pre-work happy place, where I was guaranteed to see friends, laugh, vent, continue conversations from week to week and season to season, and always be glad I came. Here we effortlessly sorted ourselves into lanes, trading the lead and adjusting intervals without need for discussion, as only long-term swim mates can do. We also traded cookies, books, gossip, even bathing suits (mostly too-small hand-me-downs to Lisa Lisa and Piezy). The community here supported each other through sporting endeavors and also, simply by being there, through career ups and downs, sickness and health, births and deaths, and other life changes. […]

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