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7900 LOYOLA BLVD. (map)
LOS ANGELES, CA 90045
(Be sure to check the MONTHLY CALENDAR on the website!)
Monday & Wednesday: 6:00am - 1:30pm; 3:30pm - 8:00pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 6:30am – 8:00pm
Friday: 6:00am – 1:30pm; 3:30pm – 7:30pm
Saturday: 8:00am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 5:30pm
YEAR-ROUND / OUTDOOR / HEATED / CHLORINATED
I don’t know what took me so long to visit the swimming pool at LMU, especially given that I’ve been working there for over a year now. I guess if you combine my love of the Swim Stadium downtown with the horrid commute I endured until my recent move to the westside, my non-attendance begins to make sense. But, after finally getting a membership at the Burns Recreation Center and going in for laps a few times in the past three weeks, I can report that I have really been missing out! This pool is terrific and, at least for me, it doesn’t get more convenient than this. (There is even a parking lot right out front!)
Unfortunately for you, the only way to go to this pool is if you have some affiliation with the university and purchase a membership (click here for eligibility info), or if you are the guest of a member ($5 for guests of students; $10 for all other guests). Another way to access the pool is to join the LMU Masters Swim club, which meets for daily workouts here at the crack of dawn, at noon and at 6.30 pm. All in all, I think this is a bit restrictive. At USC, $10 gets anyone in the door.
Anyway, if you are lucky enough to get in, you will pass through a clean, mid-size locker room (bring your own lock), with showers and a bathing suit spinner. The Rec Center is currently making efforts to go green, so they have implemented a towel service, which is a nice touch too. The pool itself is a 50 meter by 25 yard competition pool, and depending on the time of day, it is set up either in a short course (17 – 25yd lanes) or a long course format (8 – 50 meter lanes). You can find out what to expect on the very detailed monthly schedule on the pool’s main website.
The pool itself is in great condition: it was constructed in 2000 and has an advanced deck-level draining system. It is surrounded by a massive deck with bleachers, deck chairs and even a grassy area with a couple picnic tables. There are kickboards, floats and flippers for public use. Because of the pool’s limited access to non-members and because it has such extensive hours, it is never that busy. Having to share a lane is a rarity. How pleasant! The sun-worshippers out there will be happy to know that this pool gets tons of sun, but because it is located up on the bluff, it can be rather windy, and therefore chilly, especially when exiting the warm water. So be sure to bring out your towel. Other than that, go forth and make a splash! See you there.
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4175 OVERLAND AVE. (map)
(JUST SOUTH OF CULVER BLVD, NEXT TO VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK)
CULVER CITY, CA 90230
LAP SWIM HOURS AS OF SPRING 2011:
MONDAY-FRIDAY: 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM (LONG COURSE)
MONDAY & WEDNESDAY: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (SHORT COURSE)
TUESDAY & THURSDAY: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (SHORT COURSE)
SATURDAY: 7:00am - 9:00am (LONG COURSE); 9:30am - 2:00pm (SHORT COURSE)
YEAR ROUND OUTDOOR POOL (50 m x 25 y, 8 x 20 lanes, 4-12 feet deep)
HEATED (79°F in winter, 81° in summer) & CHLORINATED
COST: $4.00 / $2.50 FOR SENIORS & DISABLED
15-VISIT PASSES: $35 Residents / $50 non-residents / $20 Seniors & Disabled resident / $25 non-resident
MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED!
It has been far too long since I posted a good old-fashioned pool review, and I apologize for that, but I have a good excuse! I have been busy the last few weeks moving to the westside. What this means for me is a much shorter commute, which is fantastic, but what it means for Swimming in LA is something even more wonderful: a whole bunch of new pools for me to discover, explore and share with you - just in time for summer, dear reader!
And so, to inaugurate this new era of aquatic reportage, Ric and I visited the much-beloved Culver City Plunge last week, a place that I’m sure we will be returning to regularly. The Plunge is lap-swim central, a sparkling outdoor shrine for the truly devoted, flanked on one side by a massive tower (the actual function of which I have yet to determine) and shaded by several huge trees lining the adjacent sidewalk. Pleasant surroundings, to be sure.
The locker-rooms are nothing fancy, but a step up of sorts from some of the pools we’ve featured, with lots of hot push-button showers, changing stalls and mirrors with outlets so you can get ready on the go. Be sure to bring a padlock and a pair of flip-flops for hanging out on the big concrete deck. On the day we were there, each of the pool’s eight lanes was marked slow, medium or fast, and held at least three or four swimmers. This seemed daunting at first, but once we jumped into the brisker-than-expected(!) water, we realized the lanes were rather sizable. We swam easily in a circle with two other people, but I can imagine that once the weather gets warmer and more people start coming out of their shells, it could get hectic, especially if you are using a kickboard or a float like I usually do. I’d suggest going earlier than we did (12pm) if you like more solitude. One other thing that is a bit of a bummer: the pool does not seem to be open on Sundays much. And it only offers recreational swimming on weekends from 12.15 to 2pm during the summer. Don’t get me wrong, I like that so much time is dedicated to lap-swimming on the schedule, but 3.5 hours a week total for the kiddies to jump off the high dive? That’s it? I find that surprising.
One of the reasons for the busy-ness of the Plunge must be because it is one of the most accessible pools on the westside. It’s also clean, pretty cheap, parking is easy, and there is the option to swim long-course during the day and short-course during the evening. On top of that, there are a variety of swim lessons, lifeguard training, and aerobics classes on offer (see culvercity.org for information). Another reason is because it is one of the main training pools for a gaggle of swim teams, and for the Southern California Aquatic Masters Swim Club (SCAQ), which, according to its website, is “the largest Masters swimming program in the United States.” They offer 65 different workouts at seven different facilities per week, including Echo Deep and USC. While I’m not sure if I am quite ready for that level of workout, I plan to learn more about Masters swimming in the near future, so I will keep y’all posted on that. But, in the meantime, I give the Plunge a solid thumbs-up! I just hope it doesn’t get too crazy there once the heat comes to town…
So I’ve been checking out losangelesswimmin.com as my fellow blogger LDSA recommended below and there are lots of really amazing places showcased on the site - mostly swimming holes, hot springs and waterfalls. There is a heavy emphasis on photos, which can take awhile to load, and it’s not the most eloquent thing ever written, but it’s clear these guys have a true commitment to ’the swim’. Great camping tips as well. I have much to learn from these guys about natural swimming spots, that is for sure. Definitely a useful resource!
Don’t complain about the heat; do something about it. I’ll be swimmin all week.
And on the topic of Los Angeles water spots, peek at Los Angeles Swimmin for the best of the city and beyond.
3704 VERDUGO RD. (map)
(JUST OFF THE 2 FWY, NE OF I-5 INTERCHANGE)
LAP SWIM SCHEDULE:
MON-FRI: 6 - 8 am, 10am - 3pm (5 LANES), 4 - 6 pm (2 LANES ONLY)
SAT-SUN: 1-5 pm
MON-FRI: 6 - 8 am, 12 - 2.30 pm, 3 - 7 pm
SAT-SUN: 1-5 pm
SEASONAL / OUTDOOR / UNHEATED
COST: $2.50 / $2.00 w/ library card (KIDS & SENIORS FREE)
$55 PASS FOR 30 ADMISSIONS
A few days ago my hubby Ric and I went down to the L.A. Swim Stadium for a dip, but were thwarted in our efforts by the shuttering of the pool for a taping of the TV show ‘The Biggest Loser’. This was frustrating but also kind of funny - I love being reminded of how strange our city can be at times. We came up with a quick and desperate Plan B and made our way instead to Glassell Pool in the neighborhood of Glassell Park, just east of the L.A. river. Happily we were not disappointed. The pool’s first virtue is its location - it is hands-down the closest public pool to my house, maybe not in terms of mileage, but the drive time is about 2 minutes on the 2 Fwy from Glendale Blvd. Exit Verdugo, and *bam* you are there!
I guess what struck me about this pool and what I consider its second virtue is that it is a true neighborhood pool. Lots of different stuff going on, both in the pool and on the deck: older gay men and Australian hipster girls sunning themselves, tons of brown kids frolicing in one of the shallow ends, a lifeguard giving a private swim lesson in the other, hardcore lap swimmers going for it in the lanes, teenagers jumping off the diving board and cholo dudes watching it all through the fence. In short, it’s a pretty happening place. (There are elote carts and helados trucks out front too - bonus!) All this diversity gives the whole complex (which includes a baseball diamond, tennis/basketball courts, picnic tables/BBQ pits and rec center) a great summer vibe, and there is also a pretty view of the houses on the Mount Washington just above. But, unfortunately, all this activity can also make things a little chaotic, espcially with respect to getting a spot in the parking lot and getting a spot in the lanes of the pool. (There is a sign posted at the entrance that says explicity NO REFUNDS if you come between 4 and 6 pm, when there are only 2 lanes open, and its too crowded for you. So there!)
The pool itself is very similar in layout to Echo Deep pool with 2 shallow ends and a deep middle. The 25-meter lanes are split into 3 and then 2 with the diving area in between. The official website says that this pool is heated, but I respectfully beg to differ. It certainly doesn’t feel that way! I also read on Yelp that this is a saltwater pool, and while I have no way of verifying that at this moment, I can say that the water does have that weird salty taste to it. Hmmm…
The one big downside to this place is the changing area. It is pretty dingy and in need of a serious makeover. There are a few benches and a bunch of little stalls with creepy plastic curtains. The floor was soaked everywhere and kinda slippery - they need a few more mats. There is a separate room with a pushbutton shower in it, where you must get wet before entering the pool deck. An attendant behind a metal grate collects belongings on the safety-pin system. I recommend hurrying right through this portion of the experience.
Overall, this pool is pretty cool and I’m sure I will be returning before summer’s end. Now if only it were open year-round (and had better changing rooms), then it would be perfect!
Heads up, eastside parents! Here are two cute neighborhood pools open for the season where you can take your kids to cool off. No lap swimming here, but plenty of fun to make up for it!
COSTELLO POOL & PECAN POOL (map)
3121 E. OLYMPIC BLVD. / 120 S. GLESS ST.
(BOTH ARE NEAR I-5, OFF SOTO ST. EXIT / 4TH ST. EXIT)
323.526.3073 / 323.526.3042
RECREATIONAL SWIM SCHEDULE:
JULY 5 - AUGUST 29
MON-FRI: 11am - 3pm, 4pm - 6pm (AUG. 23-29, 2-6pm)
SAT-SUN: 1 -5 pm
COST: $2.50 / $2.00 w/ library card (KIDS & SENIORS FREE)
I decided to go and check out a few little pools today that are also located in East L.A./Boyle Heights, pretty near to my house. The first of these, featured in the photo above, is Costello Pool, a historic site that was constructed in 1947 by the famous comic actor Lou Costello, in remembrance of his infant son who died in a drowning accident. It is part of a larger recreation center that includes a playground, ball field and dining hall for youths and seniors. The pool itself is of a decent size and has a depth of 10 feet. And, as you can see, it was somewhat busy. I didn’t go inside so I can’t vouch for the changing areas, but I do know they exist!
The second, even busier pool I checked out is called Pecan Pool. It is very similar in size and layout to Costello Pool, and is also part of a larger recreation area that includes a basketball pavilion, gymnasium building, ball park and playground. This pool used to have two 25m lanes set up for lap swim on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but according to the very helpful manager there, the actual plastic lane buoys have all broken and replacements are not forthcoming. So no lap swimming here for the forseeable future, sadly. Changing areas are super basic, with open air roof.
Now, I can’t lie - both of these pool complexes are in an area of L.A. that is not exactly the nicest, and both are in need of some serious TLC. However, if you are just looking for a place to get wet and chill out I think they are perfectly fine. Also, there is some reason to have hope that both will receive the improvements they need at some point, if the city every gets out of its horrible debt. There is already a 2008 AIA award-winning plan for the total renovation of the Costello Pool and Bathouse that seems to have received an OK from the city, but, according to some very boring city documents I perused, its implementation had to be deferred for a few years due to the budget shortfall. Definitely check out the link above and the picture below - the minimalist space would feature ”a contemporary gender-neutral, open-to-the-air configuration” inside, locally-commissioned mural art outside, and sustainable materials/systems throughout. And, most importantly, there would be a new 38’ x 75’ competitive 5-lane pool! All in all, it looks like a truly transformative project that would make this low-key locale a swimmer’s hidden paradise! Totally modern, totally L.A. Awesome!
Also, just this month the Pecan Recreation Center installed a bunch of solar panels on top of its pavilion and thereby became the first L.A. Parks and Rec facility to officially go off the city’s electricity grid. The panels will actually ”generate enough energy to power 22 homes” in addition to the needs of the center, and garnered a rebate check of $113,532 from the Department of Water and Power, according to this L.A. Parks News and Informantion blog post (with pics). Pretty cool, I’d say. Let’s hope that good works like these continue in our fair city!
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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!