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LA84 FOUNDATION/JOHN C. ARGUE SWIM STADIUM (AKA LOS ANGELES SWIM STADIUM)
3990 S. MENLO AVE (map)
(NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF S. VERMONT AND W. MLK JR. BLVD.)
LAP SWIMMING SCHEDULE (FOR JULY-SEPT 2010 – check website above for changes): MON-FRI: 10am - 4pm SAT-SUN: 1pm - 4.30pm LAP POOL - OPEN YEAR-ROUND / OUTDOOR / HEATED (50 meters x 25 yards) WADING POOL - OPEN YEAR-ROUND / OUTDOOR / HEATED (ZERO DEPTH, PLAY FEATURES) COST: $2.50 / $2.00 w/ library card (KIDS & SENIORS FREE) ADULT LAP PASS = $55 / 30 admissions ADULT HEALTH CLUB PASS = $45 / 3 months (INCLUDES POOL USE, FITNESS AND WEIGHT ROOMS)
LAP SWIMMING SCHEDULE (FOR JULY-SEPT 2010 – check website above for changes):
MON-FRI: 10am - 4pm
SAT-SUN: 1pm - 4.30pm
LAP POOL - OPEN YEAR-ROUND / OUTDOOR / HEATED (50 meters x 25 yards)
WADING POOL - OPEN YEAR-ROUND / OUTDOOR / HEATED (ZERO DEPTH, PLAY FEATURES)
COST: $2.50 / $2.00 w/ library card (KIDS & SENIORS FREE)
ADULT LAP PASS = $55 / 30 admissions
ADULT HEALTH CLUB PASS = $45 / 3 months (INCLUDES POOL USE, FITNESS AND WEIGHT ROOMS)
This pool complex is a special place, a true - and truly overlooked - Los Angeles historical monument! The stadium was originally built for the 1932 Summer Olympics and its beautiful facade remains, though it now houses a modern public recreational facility, the largest in Los Angeles. A nice 2008 article from the LA Times chronicles its storied past. (From the mid 90s to 2003 it was abandoned to taggers and the homeless! I happen to know someone who wandered into the site in 2001 and claimed it was pretty sketchy.) Huell Houser also filmed this segment of California Gold in 1996 that features the Swim Stadium, pre-renovation. Weird!
The 120,000 square-foot structure’s renewal and remodel was completed in October 2004 at a cost of $30 million, according to Friends of Expo Center, and includes “The Ralph M. Parsons Preschool, The W.M. Keck Amphitheatre, The Ahmanson Senior Center, and the Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center, which features the LA84 John C. Argue Swim Stadium (50-meter pool, zero-depth recreation pool), two side-by-side gymnasiums, fitness center, weight room, meeting facilities, and a state-of-the-art computer lab.”
Enough with the history lessons, how is the swimming, you ask? Well, the short answer is: Fabulous! You just have to make it to the pool.
The entrance to the pool is through the front facade doors, on Menlo Street, which is probably also where you should park. Sometimes when it’s really busy in the summer they direct you around to the side entrance on the western end of the building, where there is a parking lot (of reserved spaces). When you enter there is a front desk, but you can bypass it and go directly through the turnstile to the swimming cashier window. After you buy a ticket (which you should take with you out to the pool) you can either go left to the women’s/girls’ locker rooms (note that these are 2 separate areas) or back around the front desk to the mens’/boys’ locker room on the opposite side.
The locker rooms are the best and cleanest I have seen at any public facility in LA. There are small and medium lockers (bring your own lock), or an attendant who will bag and tag your stuff. I can’t vouch for the men’s side, but in the women’s locker room there are two full showers, and several changing stalls (ditto for the girls). On the girls’ side there is also a vanity area with a counter, mirror, outlets and even a bathing suit centrifuge dryer! Fancy! Now for the warning: the locker area is at some point almost always filled with 12-16 year old girls and boys who are pretty lively and really loud. Its kind of amusing to be in that environment actually, but it can get a little hectic, especially on weekends and in the summer. So just make sure you are prepared for that possibility.
After exiting the back doors of the locker area, you will find yourself in a long corridor. Just proceed straight out the next set of doors and -poof- you are in the pool area, with the bleachers above you!
As you can see, the main pool is always divided into 2 areas: one for diving, water polo or kids playing, and the other is strictly for lap swim. (The recreational pool and a small shady grass area is beyond.) There are 8 short-course (25m) lanes and you hardly ever have to share! It is, quite suprisingly, a relaxed environment given the vastness of the space. Kickboards and pull buoys are available for use. You will definitely get a lot of sun exposure if you are here during mid-day, but after about 2pm the sun goes behind the building.
Another cautionary note: This pool is host to many swim meets and other acquatic events throughout the year, so scheduling issues can and do arise. If you aren’t a regular like myself, I’d suggest calling ahead to make sure there are no unexpected closures.
I’m not sure how else to say it: I LOVE THIS PLACE!