Westside Aquatic

My guess is that 12:00 on Thursday afternoon just before summer vacation isn’t exactly prime time for swimmers of Westside Aquatic. Upon entering the parking lot and driving around to the entrance, the whole place looked pretty empty. For the amount of parking spots the facility had next to the playground and by the main entrance, I was surprised at how quiet the place seemed. This was my first clue that this small amount of people was not typical to the center. The playground was definitely the busiest place with a school bus parked next to it and kids and teachers all over the place. A construction crew working on the ball fields and the partly gravel parking lot made me think that the recent renovations weren’t quite finished.

There were about 10 cars outside of the main entrance, and as I entered the building I saw only one person, a woman sitting behind the desk. As I spoke to her and asked her about the facility I got a chance to look around the lobby. There was a concession stand where things like snacks and goggles were sold. Dry erase boards were places around the lobby with colorful messages about the upcoming May activities. The drawing of a strawberry next to details about a trip to Beechwood Farm was my second clue as to the people that usually visited Westside Aquatic. She told me about the exercise classes, fun zone, and even kayaking. Swimming lessons, competitions, and camps also take place here throughout the year.

Pool Schedule

Pool Schedule

I walked down the hallway, which was seemed strangely quiet, and into the locker room. The bright yellow walls of this room made it feel warm even though it was a fairly big space and completely empty. I changed and went to look at the pool.

I had an idea of what the pools would look like from the pictures online, but it wasn’t what I expected. First, I walked into the area of the therapy pool. The space was pretty dark as no one was using it, but had nice equipment. Above this pool I saw a banner for the Make A Splash initiative.

therapy pool

therapy pool

As I walked to the competition pool to start swimming I finally saw people using the facility! There were two people swimming laps in the pool in a relaxed manner and three women walking laps around the pool. The swimmers seemed focused on their workouts, one doing backstroke and working on kicking, with two lifeguards intently watching them. The women walking around were talking and laughing together, obviously friends exercising as a group. This part of the building was much brighter because of the garage door sized windows that opened at the side of the space. There were bleachers around the pool for spectators and plastic tables and chairs. Near the back were inflatable pool toys that made it obvious that children did come to play when they weren’t in school. I saw a banner for a U.S. Masters swim team and boards with signatures from  Greenville swim team.

competition pool

competition pool

As I swam laps I tried to decide if the pool was slow or fast, but was thrown off by the 50 yard lanes, 6 foot depth, and crisscrossing lines along the bottom of the pool for when the lanes were changed to 25 yards. The water was cold and felt great in the heat of the building with 80 degree air getting in.

IMG_1541

Although I didn’t encounter many people during my visit to Westside Aquatic, everything I seemed to be signs of the people that usually filled the pool. The facility seemed very new and well taken care of. The pools and fitness center make it very easy for people to come to the center to exercise. With all of the things there for kids and families, like the toys and planned activities, I think many families either pay to swim for the day or buy monthly or annual memberships to the center, too. It was very different than what I grew up with, but I definitely wouldn’t mind swimming here regularly.

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4 Responses to Westside Aquatic

  1. asuttles23 says:

    I was the same way as you. When i got there there wasn’t anyone there. i expected a lot more to show up as my swim went on. I swam for about an hour and some change and still only one guy showed up. I guess with the little locker room the place i swam at had i shouldn’t of suspected as many people as i did. But only one guy showed up, and he was about 60 and just swam laps.

  2. somerfaust says:

    That is so interesting that they have kayaking there. I was taught how to do the death role in a large outdoor pool before my first kayaking trip. I didn’t realize such a trait was taught in places like that.

  3. heatherayer says:

    I loved seeing the pictures from Westside Aquatic! I had originally decided to go there but changed my mind at the last minute because 1) I was a little nervous about it being a competition pool and being there during a team’s practice and 2) I didn’t know where it was. But it was great reading your description of it! I really wanted to go to a 50 yard pool because I haven’t had the chance to swim in one since I swam competitively in high school. Was the 50 yard part the only part open to lap swimmers? If so, what did you think of swimming 50 yards straight without a chance to do a flip turn at the wall?

  4. Mel says:

    I’m always amazed by the people who are walking laps around the pool while I am swimming laps in the pool. If you think swimming is boring, try walking around a swimming pool! But they have a community–they talk to each other–and I guess that’s the important thing.

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