Best of Columbus 2014: Great Places for Swimming

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From the July 2014 edition

Cool off in a swimming pool that’s beckoning to someone just like you.

For athletes: Olympic Swim Club

Built in 1938 and originally known as Olympic Beach, the Olympic Swim Club is a Columbus classic. Ohio State divers and swimmers practiced here in the ’70s and ’80s. Even Buckeyes football players would spend their off days at the club. After 76 summers, though, this is the Olympic’s last. “It was a business decision, but a very emotional and very sad one,” says third-generation owner Newt Jones, who has owned the Olympic for the past 13 years. Don’t miss your last chance to dive off the club’s rare 16-foot diving platform and experience a piece of Columbus history firsthand. “We just want people to come out for the last summer and enjoy it,” Jones says.

For families: Dodge Pool

Reopened in 2012 after a year-long renovation, Dodge Pool looks better than ever. The bright, sprawling outdoor facility includes a leisure pool, a connected six-lane lap pool, two 1-meter diving boards, two big curlicue slides, a tot area with its own play structure and an even an open-air bathhouse—all this for just 50 cents a day (you’ll need a $1 Columbus Recreation and Parks Leisure Card, too). Dodge Pool is open daily from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 17.

For Culture Vultures: Grandview Municipal Pool

Grandview Municipal Pool plays really good music. A couple of large speakers face the pool, and the lifeguards—mostly Grandview high school students—take turns playing songs off their iPods and phones. It’s lots of indie and oldies, but the repertoire depends on who’s working that day. “One person likes to play jazz,” says Nicole Ray, the pool’s assistant manager. “And we have a couple of Beatles fans.” But poolside jams aren’t the only draw. The staff is helpful and kind, the snack bar is well-stocked (pulled pork sandwiches, “the best hot dogs ever,” daily Papa John’s deliveries) and the 3-meter high dive is one of the few in Central Ohio.

For little ones: Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School teaches kids of all ages but is especially suited to infants and toddlers. The water and air in the cute, tropical island-styled facility is kept at a shiver-eliminating 90 degrees, water safety is always emphasized and the proprietary curriculum means, as owner Lisa Armitage puts it, “our children actually learn how to swim.” Rolling enrollment and a flexible class schedule are great for busy families. “Sign up and stay until your child is at a comfortable point,” Armitage says. And the sibling rates, parent-child classes and family swims don’t hurt, either.