Happy National Pool Day: The SwimSwam Staff Picks their Favorite Pools

Swimmers know that no pool is the “exact” same. Some are fast and some are slow. Some cherish memories, and some are places of tears. Either way, swimmers spend plenty of time in many different pools throughout their careers and most swimmers end up having a “favorite” pool.

Today is National Pool Day so here we will be listing *most* of the SwimSwam staff’s favorite pools.

Anya Pelshaw

Favorite Pool: IUPUI Natatorium aka IU Natatorium aka “The Nat” aka “Indy” aka “Ooo-weee-pooo-weeee”

Why is it your favorite: The IUPUI Natatorium has many memories for me. I feel the pool shows the many ups and downs that swimmers (and athletes) go through. Every meet I have attended in the pool I have at least gone one best time, but I also never dropped at the same meet in my best event, the 100 fly. I’ve made finals in the pool and missed finals in this pool. I’ve shared memories with my teammates including winning the 2020 Circle City Classic at this pool. It also always feels fast.

Braden Keith

Favorite Pool: Laugardalslaug Pool in Reykjavik, Iceland

Why is it your favorite: “The Laugardalslaug pool in suburban Reykjavik is a meeting ground for every type of swimming and all of the community that swimming can create. While kids practice inside, locals swim laps outside in front of a huge grandstand. The leisure pool features splashers and sunbathers – and a giant water slide. But the real peak is about a dozen hottubs of different temperatures (including one of salt water) to help us swammers soothe our aching muscles after a grueling 800 meter workout.”

James Sutherland

courtesy of blueseventy

Favorite Pool: Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, Canada

Why is it your favorite: “Due to the Canadian winters, there are essentially no outdoor pools used for competition in Ontario. This was the only pool I ever raced in outdoors and knowing the history behind it (and the sun glaring in your eyes causing you to hit the lane rope doing backstroke) gave it a spectacle feel unlike any other.”

Retta Race

Favorite Pool: Northview High School in Sylvania, Ohio

Why is it your favorite: “Practiced there for club & high school, was SCM which helped yards meets feel super short! Locker rooms still from 1970s!”

Reid Carlson

Favorite Pool: The now forever closed, pool at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas

Why is it your favorite: “That lane there, lane 1, is where I broke a minute for the first time (58.23) in the 100 yard butterfly and made my first official state cut! This is where I swam every day after school from 8th grade through graduating high school. We swam outside in the summers. It’s not the nicest pool I’ve ever swam in, and no one will ever swim in it again, but it’s where I developed the love for swimming that I have now.”

Yanyan Li

Favorite Pool: Drew University in Madison, New Jersey

Why is it your favorite: “It’s one of the first pools I swam in. It’s also where my high school team practiced back during my freshman year of HS so a lot of my first-ever experiences being involved in the sport of swimming were at that pool. The pool was always freezing cold, but I have a lot of great memories from there.”

Andrew Mering

Favorite Pool: Baraboo Outdoor Pool in Baraboo, Wisconsin

Why is it your favorite: “24 yards 1 foot by 49 yards 1 foot. 12 lap lanes. Only 6 with blocks. The jankyness is the point. I grew up swimming in a league with this pool (my home pool), a 22 yard pool, a 35 yard pool, a bunch of 25 meter pools and a championship meet contested in yards (the only regulation yards meet of the season). That creates a situation where winning the race is everything and time is less important, because so many of the pools are different lengths it’s hard to compare. Pure racing. I loved it.”

Sophie Kaufman

Favorite Pool: Boston Sports Institute in Wellesley, Massachusetts

Why is it your favorite: “I haven’t actually gotten to swim here yet, but my childhood club team bought the 2012 Olympic Trials pool. It took them until 2020 to get it in the ground and ready for use. I think all the halfway broken down pools we used to swim in, and it’s nice to see that all the current swimmers get to train in such a nice place ”

Robert Gibbs

Favorite Pool: Collegiate School Aquatics Center in Richmond, Virginia

Why is it your favorite: “I used to coach a high school team where often 1/3 to 1/2 of our swimmers were brand new to the sport, and it was neat getting to watch them as one of their first competitive experiences was racing in a former Olympic Trials pool.”

Annika Johnson

Favorite Pool: Janet Evans Sports Complex in Fullerton, California

Why is it your favorite: “Watching the California sunrises and sunsets from the water became my favorite part of training at this pool, alongside the green parrots that nest in the trees in the summertime and interrupt my coach every other set. I swam an unforgettably painful 1500 free here that I accidentally cold-turkeyed, but I was trying so hard to keep up with my sister that I still, somehow, swam a lifetime best time.”

Anne Lepesant

Favorite Pool: 25 meter seawater pool, Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille

Why is it your favorite: “I mean, look at it!”

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4 months ago

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In the middle of San Francisco Bay is Treasure Island and we used to get 55yard training in at the military base during a few summers. The link was our view after evening practice. The pool sucked, the view was incredible!

Awsi Dooger
4 months ago

Great thread, BTW. There should be more of this type. Not everything has to be competitive results.

Awsi Dooger
4 months ago

My favorite is Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. Lots of great memories splashing around and exploring as a kid. It is part pool and part tourist attraction.

My dad was very fortunate to live nearby when he was a kid. He often described that he and his brother would spend half of each summer day at Venetian Pool and the other half having fun and causing trouble not far away on the grounds of the Biltmore Hotel, which is also a famous local landmark

4 months ago

Evanston high school. Illinois state meet

Jim Sauer
4 months ago

Here is one for GM Mel….Christmas week workouts in the Hall of Fame Ft Lauderdale pool 1979 …beautiful setting …every afternoon 50 x 50 on :50…did all fly…wished it helped me swim like Mel. Loved swimming swimming in that pool and afterwards head to the beach for some fun in the sun!

4 months ago

my favorite city, clever pool
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4 months ago

Super happy to see a shoutout for the Drew University pool 🙂

4 months ago

Dillon pool, Princeton University. 25 yard pool in a small building with all interior surfaces covered with tile. During meets, the noise from cheers, whistles, cowbells, and kickboards slammed on floors and walls was absolutely deafening and absolutely thrilling. Replaced by DeNunzio pool in 1990 – a huge barn where all sound is swallowed, and the thrills are gone.

Reply to  NoFastTwitch
4 months ago

Oooh, nostalgia. (Back when photos were black and white. Amiright Coach Crispino?)

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

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