I love swimming. Not in the Michael Phelps sense of the word of course. I don't actually do any strokes, and rarely find exercise in any context enjoyable. By "swimming" I mean hanging out in a body of water. While lakes and oceans offer several outstanding benefits, it's generally more convenient to go to a friend's pool. Plus, you're much less likely to have an unwanted encounter with any sort of marine life (you can read more about my general distaste for fish here).
But what if you find yourself without access to a friend's pool, either because you don't have any friends with pools or you lack friends in general? There is another option.
A year and a half ago, my girlfriend and I moved to a new apartment with an idyllic community pool. With the promise of heated, pristine water within walking distance of our home, I could not wait for summer to begin. The day finally came when the pool opened up on a blazingly hot Saturday. My excitement peaked when we arrived, and soon after plummeted. There were so many people, you could barely move around in the water without knocking into screaming kids playing Marco Polo. One overbearing mother sprayed her rotund, sun-burned child with sunscreen while he was in the pool, leaving a layer of film on the surface of the water. It was too much for me to handle, and after that disappointing experience I did not return to the pool for the rest of the summer.
I'm not sure how I managed to survive the blistering dog days last year without walking a few hundred yards to the nearby oasis. But this summer, I decided to give it another try. To my surprise, it was much more pleasant. Less crowded. Less gross. More refreshing. I'm now a regular on the weekends, and am glad I was able to get over my initial distaste for the public pool after one bad experience. And I'm sure to be there this weekend with the sun and 87-degree weather.