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Where to swim on the Central Coast
Swimming provides a fantastic, full-body workout that’s actually fun. There’s something inherently playful about the water, even when adults use it for serious exercise. Unfortunately, swimming season only lasts so long. As soon as summer ends, the demand for refreshing swims in the hot sun comes to an end, and a plethora of pools close down for the fall, winter, and even spring. But what can you do if you want a low impact workout in the water in the off months? Here’s the skinny on where you can dip during the rest of the year:
Cuesta Community College
Highway 1, Bldg 4700
The local junior college has two pools – a warm and shallow aqua therapy pool and a 50 meter Olympic size pool with a high dive –that it uses for various athletic programs and classes, from life guard training and group swim lessons to the school’s dive and polo teams. While the bulk of participants are younger students actively seeking degrees, the classes are open to anyone in the community who doesn’t mind getting a grade and is willing to commit to a full semester of swim instruction or aqua fitness.
Those who can’t commit aren’t left high and dry, however. The pool is open for public lap swimming in the early mornings and evenings, as long as class is in session and the pool is not being used for tournaments. Jump in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. or Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 8:30 a.m.
But remember, unless you bike or take the bus, swimming at Cuesta means parking on campus, which requires either a $30 pass for the semester or $2 per visit. Parking fees are strictly enforced, and those that risk it get a ticket.
Paso Robles Municipal Pool
28th and Oak Street
North County swimmers can enjoy this dual pool facility in Paso Robles year round. The recently remodeled indoor area features new bathrooms, showers, and dressing rooms, and the pool is kept warm to provide the perfect learning environment for young swimmers. An adapted aquatics program is offered for people with special needs and aging swimmers can partake in a low impact, aqua exercise class certified by the Arthritis Foundation. A full catalogue of pool activities and class prices can be found online.
Outside, the water is a little cooler, but it’s kept at competition level temperatures so that serious athletes can swim lots of laps without overheating. The diving board is great for play or practicing flips. The pool opens for lap swimming Monday through Friday from 12 to 1 p.m. Swimmers can pay $35 for the month or $25 for a 10-swim punch pass.
San Luis Obispo Swim Center
902 Southwood Dr.
Located adjacent to the YMCA facilities, this community facility features two outdoor swimming areas – a small one for tots and toddlers and the main pool, which is divided into sections for lap swimming, recreation, and diving. The water in both areas is kept at comfortable temperatures all year, and guided exercise classes are offered every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from either 8 to 9 a.m. or 9 to 10 a.m. The classes provide an ideal way for people with stiff joints to get fit and mingle with peers, and 20 classes cost just $73.
Adults can splash around for $3 a visit while kids and seniors get in for $2.50. That rate can add up awfully quick for water addicts, so a more economical approach would be to purchase a 20-swim pass card for $60. Again, youth and seniors get a bit of a break and can buy the same pass for $50.
Lap swimming is abundantly available at this facility, ensuring that even the busiest students and business types can find time to get in the water. Sneak in a few strokes Monday through Friday from 6 to 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or 5:30 to 7 p.m. Lap swimming is even available on weekends, from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Five Cities Swim School
425 Traffic Way, Arroyo Grande
This indoor pool is great for families. The facility offers a slew of swimming lessons for all ages and abilities, and the water is always warm. A snack shop provides food and drinks, making it easy to spend an entire day by the pool. Families can pay $50 per household every year to become members of the swim club, and membership comes with discounted rates for lessons, team registration, and lap swims. Non members pay $7 per visit, while members pay just $5. Monthly passes can be purchased for $85 per member family (up to five people) or $100 for non-members.
Times for lap swims are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3:45 p.m. The rest of each day is jam-packed with lessons and team activities for 3-month-olds to junior beach guards and everything in between.
Kennedy Club Fitness-Atascadero
3534 El Camino Real
With an outdoor, Olympic size pool and an indoor, 25 yard pool for lap swimming, Kennedy Club Fitness of Atascadero can meet everyone’s swimming needs. Gym members can swim anytime, and they also have access to instructor led classes for all swimming levels, organized water polo, and even scuba certification. A complete list of classes can be found online and each comes with additional fees.
Non-members can enjoy the facilities as well. A designated “family swim” section of the outdoor pool is open to the public and includes use of a diving board. Each visit costs $5, or guests can purchase a 20-visit punch pass for $80.
The public can also swim at Kennedy Club Fitness facilities in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. Only members and their guests all allowed at the Kennedy location in Arroyo Grande. Visit their website for complete details.
- Nick Powell
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