Monday, March 28, 2011

3 Pools Monday - 24 Hour Fitness

In my quest to be a sufficient swimmer for triathlons, I would consider myself a connoisseur of 24 Hour Fitness Pools in the Kansas City area. I spend 3 to 4 hours a week in the pool aside from the time I spend in the weight area or on treadmills.

In that time, I have noticed some deficiencies. At first it was mainly at the Ward Parkway 24 Hour Fitness, and I considered it an anomaly to that facility, but lately I have spent more time in other pools and noticed a common theme of common pool neglect at the 24 Hour Fitness Chain.

Lets lay out the ground rules. I am not an employee nor never employed by them. The following is my observations and opinions, no legal implications and this maybe a coincidence these issues happen when I'm at the pool.

Ward Parkway Ctr - Sport
Club type: Sport
Kansas City
Hours: open 24 hours per day

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The bulk of my swimming is here. It's close to work which is nice.
  1. The pool lights usually are not all working at the same time and make the water appear murky.
  2. They like to perform hot tub maintenance at 6:30am, when the morning crowd would like to us it.  What's wrong with doing that at 10am?
  3. They used to clean the pool over lunch and the power cords would slip in the pool and if you were lucky would smack you in the head as you swam laps.  Plus, the window cleaner would just about knock you out as you're gasping for air while exerting yourself in the pool... ya, um you spray cleaning solution in an area where people are breathing deeply?  Really?  THEY FIXED THAT since and I haven't had that issue in months.
  4. They have a high incidence of the "swimmer" that kind of walks, stands, jumps in the pool lane taking up an entire lane when people are waiting to swim laps.  In reality they have that right but it kind of defeats the purpose of a lap pool when people are not swimming laps.
  5. A LOT of people don't think showering before jumping in the pool is necessary.  If you sit in the sauna or come in from the weight area covered in sweat, THE POOL IS NOT THE PLACE TO WASH OFF AND COOL DOWN!  Shower first before getting in the pool, PLEASE!
  6. People get in with their shoes on.  During the winter all that salt and sand gets tracked inside and they are bringing it into the pool.  The pool has enough salt for bacteria, we don't need some added from the outdoors.
  7. No one from the staff really enforces any rules.  It's like the wild west in the pool area.  I understand they don't have resources for someone to be in there 24/7, but maybe poke a head in every 15 to 30 minutes to make sure everyone is playing nicely?
  8. Swim caps.  While not required, it's nice not to swim and get long hairs stuck in your mouth.
  9. Used band aids floating in the pool.  Gross.

Metcalf (Overland Park) - Super Sport
Club type: Super Sport
Overland Park, KS
Hours: open 24 hours per day

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This is my secondary pool.
  1. My last swim I encountered a random bandanna floating in the pool.
  2. Walker in a lane next to me was wearing her shoes in the pool that she wore around the fitness area.  Thanks for polluting the water I am swimming in.  They were NOT aqua socks, they were tennis shoes!  No enforcement of rules.
  3. Long hairs floating around again.  Nothing more gross than a mouth full of hairballs when gasping for air.
  4. Band aids on the pool deck, really?
  5. Hot tub was NOT hot.
  6. Pool is COLD.  I'm close to hypothermic after 3000 yards.
  7. The pool was not very clean.  Random stuff floating around in the bottom of the pool.

Shawnee - Sport
Club type: Sport
Shawnee, KS
Hours: open 24 hours per day

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This pool is my backup.  I usually go here for a change of pace and I got a change all right...
  1. Pool was cleaner than the others than I have seen.
  2. Children under the age of 13 were in the pool, unattended.  It was like summer time at the pool.  They had beach towels, drinks, and a cooler by the pool.  Beach ball going back and forth over the lanes and in the hot tub.  It was chaos and not even a trainer giving a tour batted an eye.  I was the only adult for a 25 minute stretch so if something happened to the kids swimming, I was it.  Luckily I am CPR certified but I've never had to use it.
  3. Again, pool has rules posted but no one enforces them.  It would appear that simply posting rules and relegating responsibility to the attendees relieves the staff of any enforcement duties.  I notified the desk guy as I left and he was very shocked, but I do not know if he will act on the info.  The kids were leaving the pool when I left so he couldn't see it first hand.  I was very disappointed.
My question to you guys is have you experienced this at 24 Hour Fitness?  Is it like this at other pools?  I've been to a few other gym pools and have not been witness to this kind of stuff.  Am I the exception?
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