40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#11: SUNY New Paltz Elting Pool

on February 25, 2012

Location: New Paltz, New YorkElting Pool at SUNY New Paltz

Configuration: 6 lanes of 25 yards

Fee: Free drop-in with Gunks Masters

Total Fees to Date: $115.58

I was back in my hometown of Poughkeepsie last night and used the opportunity to swim this morning’s Gunks Masters practice, which was over the river and through the woods at SUNY New Paltz’s Elting Pool. The team had five lanes of the pool for a 1 1/2-hour practice coached by a recent New Paltz graduate, Pete. A varsity women’s swimmer in training for NCAAs used the sixth lane, right under the record board where she’s listed multiple times.

Dave, who had suggested I visit, is a friend from the beach and NYC Swim events. Two years ago, he rented out this pool for 12 hours in order to celebrate his 45th birthday by swimming 45,000 yards. Last summer, another swimming brainchild of his came to life: the seven-day, 120-mile 8 Bridges Swim through the Hudson Valley. The man likes to swim.

I think I had been to this pool once or twice in my younger years, but I’m not 100% certain. It was built in 1964, and, as Dave quipped, it has not stood the test of time as well as one of his teammates who was born the same year. The lanes are rather narrow, the room is dark despite a line of windows on the north side, and climbing out requires considerable upper body strength unless you opt for the ladder. The women’s locker room was designed for people with smaller dimensions than my own; the shower hit me slightly above the belly button. Happily, there is a plan for a new pool to be added within the existing building, but the timeline is unclear.

Post-breakfast at Karma Road

Ed, Tera, Willie, Dave, and me--chlorinated, full, and happy.

After a nice warm-up, the practice switched gears into a fast-paced distance set. Two of my lane-mates had wing spans significantly wider than my own long arms, and it took concentration to not hit them. (I succeeded in avoiding them but was not so good at staying clear of the adjacent lane, twice making contact over there. Sorry!) I enjoyed looking up at the brick-red ceiling during backstroke.

Following the workout, several of us partook of the other time-honored masters swim tradition: hearty servings of breakfast and swim gossip. Yum!

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