40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#87: The APEX at Lehman College

on June 29, 2015

Lehman College poolLocation: Bedford Park, Bronx

Configuration: 8 lanes x 50 meters

Fee: $20 for special TNYA workout

Inspiring. There’s no better word to describe this 50-meter, indoor pool encapsulated within a soaring, light-filled natatorium. Inspiring enough to entice me to swim here on the first day of NYC’s outdoor pool season.

In six weeks, 80-something of my teammates and I will be competing in a long-course meet in Stockholm, Sweden. To help prepare, we got a few lanes here at the APEX for a distance workout. Adding to my already considerable enthusiasm–for both meet and pool–the flags and lane lines sported Swedish colors.

The pool's in thereLehman College’s 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 flaws. I have a vague recollection of volunteering at a meet at the APEX in my early days with TNYA, but I hadn’t gotten in the water and hadn’t ever returned, so this was a bona fide new pool for me. Everything was good: wide lanes, comfortable temperature, good light, spacious locker rooms, an array of warm showers, and even a sauna if I’d wanted to indulge. My only quibbles are that the lane line didn’t tighten sufficiently (despite the efforts of the lifeguards) and there was no T on the bulkhead in the deep end, meaning your arrival at the wall could be a surprise.

The building is lovely as well, arcing over the considerable facilities and sloping into the rest of the campus, communicating at once a sense of serenity and possibility. Indeed, possibilities beyond swimming include diving (1-meter and 3-meter), basketball, volleyball, running, dancing, racquetball, and plenty more.

Its opening coincided with a small wave of 50-meter pools in New York, the others being Manhattan’s Asphalt Green George Delacorte Olympic Pool and the Riverbank State Park indoor pool, and it remains a home for top-level training and competition. Membership is available to the public at a reasonable price, with steep discounts for CUNY students and employees. Rumor has it that TNYA will return as well. I hope so–this one is worth traveling for, even without international travels looming.

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