Lonely pool seeks buoyant company

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Non-degree seeking student Zach Hodge uses the pool in Candler Physical Education Center on Nov. 21 to train for an Ironman within the next two years. Hodge said he usually powers through the swim in triathlons but is looking to focus on upper body and form to save his leg strength for the Ironman. Photo by William A. Peters

A lap pool hidden in plain sight offers anaerobic training for students, faculty and staff.

By William A. Peters          


Having access to a pool year-round is an uncommon thing, but this college has a 25-meter, five-lane indoor pool that supports aquatic programs and open swim four days a week in Candler Physical Education Center.

“There’s not a lot of facilities that have a pool you can go use openly,” said non-degree-seeking student Zach Hodge, who swims at the pool whenever his schedule allows him to train for an Ironman triathlon.

He stumbled upon the pool looking for a place to work out one day when the student fitness center was closed.

When not in use for swim classes, the pool is available for open swim 1-4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 3:15-4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

The pool is a rare treat that only a few students know about and even fewer use. During the open hours, liberal arts sophomore Gabby Garza, the pool’s lifeguard, said, “A full day will usually be like five people (to show up).”

Hodge, a strong swimmer focusing on upper body drills, said, “I wanna try to do an Ironman either this year or the year coming up, so I need to get back in the pool.”

The Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and finishes with a 26.22-mile run without a break.

“I’m trying to get my freestyle up and focus more on my arms, save my legs for the bike and the run,” Hodge said Nov. 21 after he finished up his laps for the day.

In addition to building up his endurance, Hodge said, “I’m trying to work on my form a lot, mostly just kinda power through it the last time I’ve done them.”

Like Hodge, liberal arts freshmen Krystal Farthing stumbled upon the pool by chance.

“When I found out they had a pool, I came and checked it out right away,” Farthing, a former competitive swimmer, said.

“The smell of chlorine had me like, ugh, it took everything I had to keep me from jumping in,” Farthing said before beginning her workout Nov. 21.

Swimming is a low-impact, full-body, cardio workout suitable for all ages and body types. It doesn’t put the same stress on the joints that running does so it makes for an ideal workout for those with joint and muscle problems.

Farthing shared a personal example.

“I joined swimming in the beginning when I was young because I have a lot of joint problems, and it helped me a lot to stay nice and toned and conditioned without putting pressure on my knees and hips and such,” Farthing said.

For the more self-conscious student, swimming could wash away their fears of being seen sweating in public, Garza theorized.

“I’ve had some people say they don’t like other workouts because they feel all sweaty and gross and when they get in the pool, you don’t feel like that,” Garza said.

“It’s a good exercise, it works out everything if you have muscles that are, like, sore or whatever.”

With the permission of kinesiology faculty, students can swim to make up missed classes, Garza said.

The pool has an average of three visitors a day during open swim’s two- to three-hour period, Garza said.

With the shallowest section at 4 feet, it gradually slopes to 7 feet at the deep end, which can be used for treading water. The pool is equipped with aquatic accessories such as kickboards and pull buoys. Men’s and women’s showers and lockers are available for doggy paddlers and aspiring Michael Phelpses alike.

Having access to a pool again is convenient and brings back memories of smelling like chlorine at 6 a.m. in the morning for Farthing.

“I absolutely love it,” she said.




    • Teresa Talerico on

      Yes, those are the open hours for students, faculty and staff this semester. We verified them Jan. 31 with kinesiology Professor Martha Stephenson.

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