40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#51: Hamilton Pool

on November 23, 2012

Is that a waterslide behind us?Location: Western Addition, San Francisco, California

Configuration: 6 lanes of 25 yards

Fee: $5

Fees to Date: $196.87

Thanksgiving travels brought me to the West Coast, a vast area of swim opportunities. For my first dip out here, I met up with bike-buddy Nancy on Monday morning to check out Hamilton Pool, which is run by the City of San Francisco. Unlike in New York City where the indoor public pools require a Parks & Rec membership, anyone can drop in here for some laps.

view of lap lanesChuck the lifeguard filled us in on the pool’s story: A recreation supervisor from Florida had grand ideas about renovating this underutilized 100-foot pool. His vision? Waterslides! The shallow end was sectioned off into a landing ground from the spiral slide, the deep end used for a cannon-like shooter, and presto, this pool is now one of the city’s most popular since its reopening in 2010. Alas, these attractions were not open during our visit, so we contented ourselves with laps.

The water was nice and clear, and it’s treated with bromine rather than chlorine. Floor-to-ceiling windows along one side filled the pool with light, making it easy to see the variety of curious strokes and swim aids in use by the lane-mates I had to dodge. (NB: Nancy said she’d never seen the pool so crowded, and that sometimes she has the place practically to herself.) The bulkhead sectioning off the waterslide area had large holes through which to view the water on the other side, and if I were any smaller I think I would have been tempted to try to slither through.

Inside the locker rooms, I found the motion-activated showers to be a challenge, but with perseverance I was able to rinse off. We speculated that the concrete floor had some type of build-in heating to cleverly prevent puddle accumulation. I can see why Nancy is proud to call this her home pool and would definitely plan a return visit were it not for limited time and a plethora of other pool options.

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