July 2, 2014

Swimming Outdoors in Princeton? Community Pool Not the Only Cool Spot

PRINCETON’S COMMUNITY POOL: When temperatures rise, Princeton residents head for the pool, which has seen an increase in annual memberships since it was refurbished in 2012. But read on, it’s not the only place to beat the heat this summer.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Recreation Department)

PRINCETON’S COMMUNITY POOL: When temperatures rise, Princeton residents head for the pool, which has seen an increase in annual memberships since it was refurbished in 2012. But read on, it’s not the only place to beat the heat this summer. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Recreation Department)

In spite of a power outage that closed the Community Park Pool briefly last week while work was carried out on the filtration systems, Princeton’s favorite place to cool off was up and running again quickly.

Executive Director Ben Stentz of the Princeton Recreation Department was on hand to see that the closure was of the shortest duration possible. The pool closed two hours earlier than normal on Friday, June 27. “We didn’t know how long it would take to make repairs on Friday night so we canceled Saturday morning swim lessons and lap swim. In the end, repairs were completed by about 4:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and we were able to open at our regular weekend time of 11 a.m. Long night but we got it done,” said Mr. Stentz, who reported yesterday that since the pool was rebuilt in 2012, membership has risen from around a steady 3,500 a year to in excess of 5,000 a year.

“As of July 1, the number is just shy of 5,200; last year it was 5,500,” said Mr. Stentz. “This is the new norm for us. In the 27 days that we’ve been open so far this year, including four of five rainy days, we’ve had 29,000 individual visits.”

The increased number of visitors to Community Park Pool may have had an effect on other local swimming locales where Princeton residents find respite from the summer’s heat.

Nassau Swim Club

Perhaps because the pool is tucked out of the way in a bucolic setting or perhaps because of increases in the number of users at the municipal Community Park Pool, membership at the Nassau Swim Club has fallen off in recent years. This is very good news for those who have long wished to join but might have been put off by the $600 one-time initiation fee. In order to encourage new members, the Club is waiving this fee and also offering reduced annual memberships.

Located on Lower Springdale Road between the Institute Woods, the grounds of Princeton University and Springdale Golf Club, this small co-op swim club has been around for nearly 50 years. The swimming pool is one that local families return to year after year. Today it boasts a 6-lane, 25-yard, competitive pool with a connected, 13.5-foot deep dive well. There is also a baby pool conveniently located next to the main pool and lots of green grass for sunbathing as well as shady spots. Swimming lessons are offered for children and adults and adult-only lap swims are a feature of the early mornings. Food trucks stop by and members are encouraged to hold social events at the club. ”This is a wonderful family spot that may just be Princeton’s best kept secret,” said board member Anne Mavis.

“To encourage new members, the club is offering a special rate of $50 for the entire July Fourth weekend from Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Not only that, if enrolling for July and August a family (of any number) can join for $399; $299 for a couple, and $199 for an individual,” said Ms. Mavis. Special rates also apply for seniors (55 plus) and for scholars visiting the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton graduate students, and Princeton Theological Seminary graduates and faculty.

For more information, call (609) 436-0797, email information@nassauswimclub.org, or visit: www.nassauswimclub.org, But be warned, not all membership details are currently up-to-date.

Quarry Swim Club, Hopewell

As its name suggests, the pool at the Quarry Swim Club was once part of a rock mining operation that closed down almost one hundred years ago. Located at 180 Crusher Road in Hopewell, the Club has been operating since 1928.

Fed by a natural spring, the quarry pool is up to 55 feet deep and children under 12 are required to pass an 80 yard swim test before being allowed in this old-fashioned “swimming hole” surrounded by rock cliffs. For children and adult non-swimmers there is a pool just 1.5 to 4 feet deep and Red Cross certified lifeguards are on duty at all times.

According to Jim Gypton, who has owned the Club with his wife Nancy for 27 years, the success of Princeton’s Community Park Pool has had no impact on business. “We don’t advertise, people find us by word of mouth,” said Mr. Gypton. “This isn’t a place for everybody, you won’t find lounge chairs but we have grass, a pool for children, diving boards in the Quarry and inner tubes for relaxation. We have a growing number of very loyal people who spread the word and bring their neighbors as guests. I know most of them by sight, if not by name.”

There’s a definite rustic feel to swimming here from Memorial Day weekend when it opens until Labor Day when it closes. In between it’s open seven days a week.

The pool has three large floats anchored in the water and three diving boards. Picnic tables and grills are provided under shade trees in a three-acre grove for visitors who want to spend the day. There’s also a snack bar and a sand volleyball court.

The Quarry Swim Club is a private facility for pass holders only. A variety of passes are available from full-season to partial-season and special pass options for late day visitors; there are no single day passes, however. Private and group swim lessons are offered for all ages.

For more information, call (609) 466-0810, or visit: www.quarryswimclub.com.

Broadmead Swim Club

Located on Broadmead Street off Western Way in Princeton, the Broadmead Swim Club is affiliated with Princeton University but membership is open to all. Fully staffed with experienced lifeguards, the pool remains open into the evening and it’s possible to order from local restaurants that are happy to deliver to Broadmead. Visits from the ice cream truck are a daily highlight for children.

In addition to a 20 meter pool, there’s a separate enclosed baby pool. Lifeguards offer private and group swim lessons, and there are yoga classes. Lawns cater to sunbathers and there are picnic tables in a shaded area.

This pool operates from May 24 through September 1, with changing hours as the summer progresses and specific times set aside for lap swimmers.

Memberships are available to the community and to members of Princeton University as follows: $680, community family ($600, University family; $300, student/postdoc family); $340, community single ($300, University single).

For more information, call (609) 759-0272, email: broadmead.swim.club@gmail.com, or visit: www.broadmeadswimclub.com.