First rule of going anywhere as an adult, always bring a photo ID. Little did I know that applied to the Kroc Center as well. I didn’t think that a place whose mascot is a crocodile spelled with a “K” would be so serious. We walked in around noon on a Wednesday and I thought what a nice facility. High ceilings, big windows, it reminded me of USC’s Strom Thurmond Gym. It was the gym that Furman should have. We walked up to the front desk and they ask for us to fill out a form and ask for a photo ID, I left my wallet at home, but luckily I have my drivers license number typed in my phone on the note pad section. This is passable, suspicious, but passable. Then they take my picture and save me in to the system. Then we walked into the locker rooms, which can only be described as average. To protect the little old ladies we opted to follow the signs and did not take pictures. Emery and I put on our speedos and grabbed our caps and goggles and headed out to the main facility. It was breathtaking. I normally hate indoor pools but this place was so bright and airy it didn’t feel claustrophobic at all. When we walked out there was a really jazzy playlist blaring over the speakers, which just puts you in a happy mood right away. In two of the lanes there is a water zumba or some type of aerobics class going on. The members of the class are the most surprising part of the whole affair.
Based on what we learned about the demographics of swimming, I would have expected 2 full lanes of white ladies, but there is such diversity in both age and ethnicity. Black women dressed in full t-shirts and hair turbans are dancing alongside white women in spandex. It looks like so much fun I want to join in. But the real wonder is on the other side of the pool. Just past the lap section is a play area, which is like a miniature water park. There is a playground, lots of little water features, and a huge water slide.
When you are investigating the culture of the pool, you have to experience all parts of that pool so it really only made sense that we played on everything, for about an hour before starting our real swim. The real swim was perfect. The water was not slow, it was not fast, it was a medium speed pool. The temperature was wonderful and it was easy and great to move through the water. The swim was even more fun while the exercise class was going on one lane over, because the music really pumped you up to swim. As much activity as there was going on in the pool, it was very easy to focus on the swim.
When we finished we were able to go out and soak in the hot tub off to the side. While we were sitting and relaxing the zumba class let out and that’s when we get the details on the Kroc center. The whole class joins us in the hot tub and they are all so friendly. They tell us that all of the classes are free with membership, and if you live within ten miles of the center your membership is discounted by as much as 10 dollars per month. It seems like a family place. There is a mom playing with her daughter on the little slide and a bunch of little kids all playing together in another section. It isn’t a place where there are many serious swimmers, but there is a great atmosphere much like you would find at an aerobics class or a water park.