Beat the summer heat with a swim – Part 1

June 18, 2019

Summer is here! But while temperatures have cooled down somewhat after reaching 90 degrees the previous week, the heat is set to come back towards the end of this month with daily maximums rising above 80. What better way to cool down and stay fit at the same time than to hop in a pool for a swim workout? This article is the first of two regarding swimming. Here, I’ll cover some information about USC’s aquatics facilities.

USC has the Uytengsu Aquatics center located near the McClintock Avenue entrance. Entry is free to all registered students and is via the Lyon Center. If you want to swim, you’ll need a swimsuit and a pair of goggles (and optionally a cap, if you have long hair). The Lyon Center has locker rooms, although prices are a bit steep at $55 per semester. Instead, you can always opt for the free option – day use lockers. These can be used to temporarily store your belongings while you swim, however, be sure to buy a lock of your own. Once you get changed into your swimsuit, head past the shower area and into the pools!

The Aquatics center has a couple of pools. The dive pool is smaller, with 4 lanes for swimming and a wider lane for diving. Diving is restricted to members of USC’s dive teams, however, you are welcome to swim in the dive lane if the dive teams are not practicing. If they are, you’ll be treated to quite a show! One length of the dive pool is 25 yards. For those wanting  a bigger challenge, or Olympic-sized distances, the competition pool is a great alternative. It has 8 lanes for swimming, and one length is a whopping 50 meters. However, the competition pool is often closed due to other events such as water polo.

If you are a novice swimmer or looking to learn, the Aquatics center may not be the best place as none of its pools have a shallow end. The minimum depth is about 6 and a half feet, so your whole body will drop right in! However, USC has another option – the PED indoor pool located in the Physical Education building, close to the center of campus. This has a shallow end of 4 feet and a deep end of around 10 feet. One length is 25 yards. This place is personally my favorite place to swim because it has really wide lanes, so never gets too crowded. Moreover, having a roof over your head is nice for sunny days, which is nearly always the case in LA. However, this pool uses a lot of chlorine to keep its water clean, so be sure to fasten those goggles tightly to prevent your eyes from stinging. This has happened to me before and trust me, it’s not pleasant.

PED indoor pool

The indoor pool has lockers available for semester rentals at just $10 each, however, these are not available for the summer. This leaves the day use lockers as the only option. Day use lockers can fill up on busy days, in which case the only option might be to carry your stuff to the pool deck. But don’t worry, there is ample space on the poolside benches to keep your backpack and whatever else you might have with you. The other thing about the summer is that the locker rooms can only be entered from the pool area. While this is not an issue at all, it struck me as slightly weird that I have to enter the pool area and then head to the locker rooms instead of it being the other way round.

Different pools are open throughout the day. Be sure to check it before you go for a swim, the color black indicates cancelled hours. And with that, I would like to end this article. In the next part, I’ll talk more about actual swimming, the different strokes, and the swim class offered by PED at USC.

Published on June 18th, 2019

Last updated on April 1st, 2021