40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#4: Panama City Beach Aquatic Center

on January 13, 2012

Piez, me, and Janet  at Panama City Beach's outdoor pool

Location: Panama City Beach, Florida

Fee: Free due lack of attendant (otherwise $8)

Configuration: 20 lanes of 25 yards (or 8 lanes of 50 meters)

Total to Date: $40.33

Woohoo, I swam outside today! For the second year in a row, I’m down in the Florida Panhandle for the holiday weekend. Last year, the outdoor pool was closed most of the time because of cold air temps, so Janet and I swam in alternate venues. Happily, that’s not the case this time (although back in New York, the first snow of the winter fell on those poor souls today). Adding to the fun, Piez–also a Janet–is along for the trip this time around.

I do a lot of swimming with both of them, in pools and open water. Piez (rhymes with “cheese”) and I were roommates twice at TNYA’s Fort Lauderdale swim camp, and we did our own camp down there a third year. Janet never met a body of water she didn’t like, and she’s always game for an expedition–usually with home-baked treats to share.

Janet is also a very creative swimmer, constantly coming up with clever workout ideas and new ways to improve. Back in December, she dreamed up a 12 Days of Christmas workout, but due to sickness, pool closures, and holiday travels, none of us swam it . . . until today. The PCB Aquatic Center was a great place to do it, as we each had our own lane and were able to take the swim at our own pace. Having my own lane ensured I avoided collisions, which otherwise would have been an issue given the amount of backstroke and back-dolphin kick in the workout, and the lack of a ceiling to look at to stay on course. Amazingly, my lane had some graffiti in the black line on the bottom that read “I love a swim [heart] Hannah.” I swear I didn’t write it, but I certainly do love a swim in this pool, even if it puts me at risk for a cap tan.

Less than 6 years old, the pool complex is perhaps best viewed by helicopter, as in this aerial shot. The water is so clear that you can easily see all the way from the shallow end down to the deep end, where the pool manager got in with the biggest fins I’ve ever seen to train for free-diving. His goal is to dive down to a wreck in the gulf and spear a fish!

Meanwhile, he’s got a pool to run–a Myrtha pool, no less–and he said it’s been putting him through his paces lately. The ground water here is highly corrosive, so it’s eaten through some gaskets, and thus he’s got new ones on the way from Germany. New gutters are coming from Italy, and vacuum parts are on the way from Sweden, so it’s practically a European pool! The geothermal heating and cooling system is local, though, taking water from nearby wells that hold steady at 68 degrees year-round and using it to warm the pool water in the winter (supplemented by electric heat to get the water up to about 80) and cool it off in the summer. As far as I know, this is the only geothermal pool I’ve swum in, but I hope to experience some others this year.

One response to “#4: Panama City Beach Aquatic Center

  1. […] his own. Seeing my shadow ripple across the pool bottom through the clear water reminded me of the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center, which also has the luxury of […]

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