Nassau Swim Club’s Activities and Programs Continue to Delight Swimmers of All Ages
NONNA AND HER “LEMMINGS”: “The Nassau Swim Club has a very attractive environment in the woods. It is very family-oriented, and there are activities all the time.” Chiara Nappi (“Nonna”), treasurer of the Nassau Swim Club, is shown with her granddaughters Nava Brenner-Witten (left) and Liliana Brenner-Witten. Both are swimmers (“lemmings”) at the club.
By Jean Stratton
Nassau Swim Club has been welcoming swimmers of all ages for 50 years. Nestled in the woods near the Institute for Advanced Study, at the tip end of Springdale Road, it is a hidden gem!
“We offer a safe and bucolic environment and constant contact with nature,” says Dr. Chiara Nappi, treasurer of the club. “In addition to the swimming, we have nature walks to the Institute and the Princeton Battlefield. We take advantage of our proximity to these places.”
A private cooperative board-run organization, Nassau Swim Club offers 200 memberships to families and individuals. Its community atmosphere is enhanced by members taking part in the club’s operation.
“The club requires each membership (family, couples, individual, and student) to help out by taking on an assignment, such as getting the pool ready, mowing the lawn and other maintenance, cleaning up, helping with repair work, arranging social activities, helping with picnics, and closing the pool,” explains Dr. Nappi.
The Club has several social events throughout the season, including its Memorial Day opening, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and various other occasions, including a special fundraiser for the pool.
“On June 15th, we will have our annual Community Evening Out, followed by our Beginning of Summer party on June 21st,” notes Dr. Nappi, who has been a member of the club since 1988.
Members include people from Princeton and beyond, she adds. “I enjoy the camaraderie and the continuation of the club, seeing old friends, meeting new friends and families, and connecting with them. There is a real bond among the members.”
Adults are pleased that there is always a designated two-lane lap area in the six-lane, 25-foot pool, except for three hours — 8 to 11 a.m. — when the swim team practices.
Children of all ages enjoy the opportunities geared to their level. A baby or wading pool is available to kids 5 and under. Its location beside the main pool is a plus, where parents and family can keep a watchful eye on the toddlers.
A 13.5-foot diving well is another feature, and in addition, chairs and tables are set up in shady spots surrounding the pool area.
Two lifeguards and one supervisor/lifeguard are always on duty, with more lifeguards available depending on the number of swimmers. They are certified, having undergone extensive training.
Swimming lessons are also available for all ages, including adults. There is also a stroke clinic to improve skills.
The club’s swim and dive teams are part off the Princeton Area Swim & Dive Association (PASDA), and teams consist of boys and girls 4 to 18 years old. They compete against teams in the area, and are at all ability levels. Various meets are held, including a championship meet at the end of the season.
The focus of the team participation is on the enjoyment of swimming and the pleasure of being on the team, explains Dr. Nappi. “No previous experience is needed to join the team, but members are required to be able to swim one length of the pool.”
Regulations for the dive team are similar to those for the swim team.
General pool regulations require that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult. Those over 12 may be unaccompanied, if they have passed the deep end test, and have signed parental permission.
New this year is a special aquatics program, reports Dr. Nappi. “This is unique in the area, a service that only Nassau offers to its members. Members’ children, ages 5 to 12 who are enrolled in the swim and/or dive team are eligible. It’s a full-day program from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., which mixes aquatics activities with quiet activities and interesting projects (science, nature, arts and crafts).
“It is run by counselors who are also experienced swim coaches and certified life guards. We have a ratio of one counselor per six children. Board members, including myself, will supervise its implementation and make sure it runs safely and smoothly.
“The reason we included this program,” she continues, “is that we want to accommodate the needs of working parents. Working parents who want their children in the swim and dive teams need a full-day program. So, we expanded and seamlessly combined the various programs already offered (swim, dive, lessons, stroke clinics, etc.) into a full day program, mixing in fun intellectual activities during quiet times.
“The cost of this program to members is very affordable — the best deal in town!”
The program is available during the swim and dive season, from June 25 to July 27. Daily hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nassau Swim Club provides a unique atmosphere that results in long-standing memberships, points out Dr. Nappi. “I so much enjoy the members and the memories. There have been long friendships over the years. It’s like a family.
“Also, there are so many benefits from our club. If people don’t have the chance to swim all year round, this is a way to acquire comfort and confidence and stamina in swimming.
“I grew up in Naples and had a chance to be in the sea, but I didn’t really know how to swim well. I practiced my swimming skills when I came to Nassau Swim Club. I know how hard it is to learn to swim as an adult. I wanted my own children to learn to swim when they were small. And, now I also have wonderful times watching my grandchildren swim. This is the first year both girls will be on the swim team together. They — and all the kids — are like lemmings. They love to go into the water.”
Family and individual memberships are available at reasonable costs, with discounts offered for seniors, graduate students from Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Princeton Theological Seminary. There is also a generous guest policy.
Members may bring their own snacks or lunch, and there is a refrigerator. In addition, a food truck comes on Fridays and an ice cream truck comes every day.
It is important to continue to expand the membership, notes Dr. Nappi “The world has changed. Many mothers work outside the house now and can’t always bring their children to the pool and stay with them. This is one reason we started the aquatics program.
“I look forward to seeing the club continue to grow. It is such a beautiful opportunity for everyone. We are very proud to meet the needs of the families, including the working families. The ability to swim is so important for people, and our club is also a wonderful way for people to get together.”
The pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Summer hours are 11 a.m to 8 p.m. For further information, consult the website: www.nassauswimclub.org.