At the conclusion of U.S. Speedo Junior Nationals, SwimSwam had a chance to ask some of the athletes and coaches to tell us about their experience at the new Northside Swim Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The facility is only two years old, a joint venture between Northside Independent School District and Bexar County. In May of 2008, voters of Bexar County approved a tax referendum to provide $7 million in funding for the project; two years later NISD voters approve a bond measure to raise a matching $7 million. The groundbreaking took place in August, 2011.
The 2015 U.S. Junior Nationals and U.S. Nationals are the first major national meets to be held in the facility, and we were curious what competitors and coaches thought about the new pool.
- Was is fast?
- How were they handling the heat?
- How would they compare it to other pools during the summer?
Michael Andrew, Indie Swimming
After winning Male High Point of the Meet award, Andrew told SwimSwam he was impressed with the facility. “I think it’s a fantastic pool, probably my new favorite outdoor pool I’ve ever raced in! I love the layout of the different pools and how easy it is to get around as well!”
When asked about how fast the pool was, he remarked, “Absolutely, it’s a beautiful pool, feels fast, and at the first sight of it I immediately want to jump in and just go!!!
As for the heat, “We’ve focused on staying properly hydrated obviously, and trying to stay in the shade as much as possible! Just simple things but it really hasn’t been as scorching as we’ve expected. It is more humid (uncomfortable heat outside but unlike spectators we at least get to cool off in the refreshing water).
“Traffic is a little hectic coming to the pool so plan accordingly and when you go out to eat, don’t leave any valuables in your car!”
Peter Andrew, coach, Indie Swimming
“It is an absolutely gorgeous facility. Very practical layout, easy to get around between warm-up pools (stress free) and competition pool. The spectator stand lends itself to add to the incredible atmostphere for athletes when packed during finals.
“It is very hot in the sun, but bearable in the shade. We made arrangements to deal with the heat between events since we knew what conditions we were going to compete in. We like the heat; it helps to stay warm after warm-ups. It is not cool in the evenings for finals like in Irvine, so that’s an added plus for fast swimming (helps staying loose and warm). We just take extra care to stay hydrated (and not over-hydrate).
“As far as how fast the pool is, I’ll let Michael answer that, but the results speak for themselves: 100% PB’s – although I credit USRPT for that, a great fast pool definitely helps.”
Ella Eastin, Socal Aquatics Association
Eastin, the Female High Point of the Meet recipient, shared with SwimSwam, “The facility is beautiful and great for accommodating a lot of swimmers. Although, since it is SO hot, most of the athletes are not by the competition pool and the spectators are on one side in the shade, making the meet seem smaller.
“The weather has also made it hard to keep up my energy level and to be on top of my hydration. I have never competed in these conditions and I sure am learning and dealing with what comes from the heat and humidity.”
Sean Lee, Swim Pasadena
“I think the facility is amazing. I love the layout of the whole facility and the competition pool is a joy to swim in.
“It is hotter than other pools in the summer because the weather here in Texas is hotter than I’m used to and it’s also much more humid here than in California.
“I try to handle the heat here by staying in the shade and hydrating as much as possible. The water is also colder than I’m used to so that’s also a plus every time I jump in.”
Alec Hsing, Swim Pasadena:
“The facility is great and the competition pool is fantastic. The temperature and layout of the competition pool is optimal for fast swimming. The only drawback of the facility is the distance from the warm-up pool to the competition pool.
“The heat was not as bad as I expected it to be. There was a lot of shade around the pool and seating area. I tried to avoid the heat by staying indoors and under the shade whenever possible.
“I think the weather in San Antonio isn’t much hotter than that of Southern California in the summer. However, the humidity and lack of wind makes it seem and feel much worse.”
Terry Stoddard, coach, Swim Pasadena
“Sean brings up a valuable point that this facility has the capability to both chill and heat the competition pool. They announced that there is an area big enough to drive a vehicle through that is air conditioned to control the temperature of the pipes that carry the water for the pool.
“And Alec brings up a good point that the locker rooms are spacious and air conditioned. The 50-meter warm up pool is, of course, covered but opened.”