My Material Life

Swimming Pools I Have Known and Loved

The last couple of weeks have been full of swimming and pools.  I’ve just finished catsitting for a friend and neighbor who invited me to use their pool while they were away and what a lovely treat that was (they keep their pool so blissfully warm). Then on Friday Samantha finished up a week of daily swim classes and in addition to that I’ve been reading this book by Lynn Sherr …

Great cover, isn’t it?  This is a wonderful book about all kinds of swimming history and what-not, interspersed with the story of Ms. Sherr’s own participation in the Hellespont (an open water swim between Europe and Asia) at the age of 69. I’ve always been somewhat enchanted with swimming and pools.  One of my earliest memories is of being in a car after a trip to the Y for swim lessons with the sound of Paul McCartney singing Yesterday on the radio and the scent of McDonald’s hamburgers in the air.  If I remember the story correctly, I was something of a toddler swimming prodigy and my family and teacher were looking forward to showing me off at some kind of swim event, but once they threw me in the water I panicked, had to be rescued, and that was about the extent of my brilliant swimming career. Luckily, it didn’t put me off swimming.  I’ve always enjoyed it and the wonderful feeling of relaxation and well-being that I feel both in and once out of the water.

I’ve taken swim classes periodically throughout my life, but the last personal coaching session I had a couple of years ago left me very discombobulated.  Apparently my neck was out of alignment and I was swimming the crawl flat when I needed to roll side-to-side and trying to correct both those things made it hard to know how and when to breathe!  I left discouraged and confused; I thought I already knew how to swim and that I just needed some fine-tuning.  But after reading the Swim book, I understand that I didn’t learn to swim “wrong” – it’s just that swimming techniques keep changing and progressing!  Now I think I’m ready to go back and try again.  Plus I’ve always wanted to learn how to do a flip turn.

I promised some swimming pools …

Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California

Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California

Some people roll their eyes at the Madonna Inn, but not me.  I’ve always loved it and I love it even more now that they have a pool.  This is my very favorite California pool.  It’s so warm and in such a great location – on a hill overlooking one of my favorite towns, San Luis Obispo.  With not one, but two spas and what I think they call a European beach entry.  Highly recommended.

Westlake Village Inn, Westlake Village, California

If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of the LA County and Ventura County line and you need a place to stay, consider the Westlake Village Inn.  Not only does it have a great circular pool, it is also one of the most comfortable and lovely hotels I’ve ever experienced.  There is something very fun about a circular pool and I love how the Inn provides pool noodles and balls for guests (they even have pool memberships for non-guests apparently).  Floating on water has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures and the benefit of the pool noodle is that it allows you to float while you still have full body contact with the water.  Spent a very enjoyable morning in the pool last summer floating and visiting with an older couple from the Valley who would come up to the hotel and pool periodically just to spend a weekend because it’s so very, very nice there.

Now here are a couple of beautiful pools I’ve visited, but wasn’t allowed to swim in.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Roman Baths, Bath, England

Do you have a favorite hotel or public pool/bath to recommend?  Please do tell me about it!

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