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gwen
gwenix
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April 2011
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gwen [userpic]
Swimming at the Oliver Bath House

I really enjoy going swimming, as anyone who knows me can tell you. And I take it seriously, with a routine that includes 40 laps, and employs the strokes freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and even the butterfly most days (some days I decide to just do the freestyle for all 40 laps without stopping). It's a calming experience that allows me time to think in relative peace and quiet.

These days, this swimming happens at the Oliver Bath House in the Southside on 10th st.



I've had a long familiarity with this place; my neighbor and best friend Stephanie and I would often go swimming here in the cold winter months growing up. If I recall correctly, it was her and her mother who taught me the breaststroke at this pool! It isn't the fanciest of swimming, but it certainly is decent, and at $30 a year, it is well worth the price! So I have maintained my membership with the public pools for most of my life, and gone swimming here frequently.

The history of this particular location is fascinating, too. It was opened in 1915 as a bath house for the public, and likely with particular attention to the Southside residents' propensity towards grimy industrial work. As the need for bath houses diminished, so did the need for this facility, and it was turned into a public swimming pool. The Post-Gazette has a nifty 360 picture of the place with this history in the caption.

Going swimming in the pool means heading upstairs to the dressing rooms, lockers, and bathrooms (with showers) to get changed into the swimming gear. The building is kept at a very warm temperature, I estimate 85F, so stripping to the swimsuit is comfortable. Then I shower to rinse off extra grime, and head down to the pool. Jumping into the deep end is easy -- the water is also maintained at a very warm temperature, possibly 80F, and the depth of the deep end is at least 10 ft. And then I start to swim!

These temperatures are often a bit warm for my serious swimming; I'll end up sweating halfway through the workout. But the overly warmness is actually welcome in contrast to the below freezing temperatures outside.

I really like going swimming in the pool that helped teach me to swim, and in a pool so steeped in the history of the neighborhood I love. But moreover, I just love to swim, and this is a great place to do so affordably.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: conference call
Comments

I learned to swim here too. I lived on 11th street until I was about 7. Its much the same as I remember it, really.

I've never been to this place; not sure how I missed it growing up here.

Meant to comment on your earlier post on Hack Pittsburgh too. My parents are both hams and recently I've been thinking I should finally get into it too.

You are just full of great ideas. Definitely will check out one or both at some point.

Thank you, that's exactly why I'm posting about this stuff!

The UB and I do a lot of things, and often are overbooked on any given evening. We get very confused when people tell us "There's nothing to do in Pittsburgh," because we're doing too much!

I'd been meaning to blog about my experiences to share them with people who didn't know for a long while... but d33ann's cajoling finally got me to actually start doing it :)

Aww, I miss the Oliver Bath House. Fond memories of sliding down the icy hill from Pius street, getting hit with a blast of warm moist air that steams up my glasses irrevocably as I stomp in from the cold, and enjoying a few laps in the dead of winter. :D

I've been seriously slacking on my swimming these past few months. Seeing this post is yet another sign that I need to get back on the ball with it.

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