Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

lap swimming in austin Bartholomew pool

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

I did a lot of lap swimming in Austin before the Ironman event in October 2016.  After visiting a variety of pools in the city I’ve written a tourist guide for other swimmers and triathletes who find themselves in Austin wanting to know where to swim at the best lap swimming pools in Austin. This is not an exhaustive list but does include some of the highest rated options.

The following list of pools to go lap swim in Austin includes my thoughts on the pros and cons as well as the workout I did when I was there.

1.  Bartholomew Municipal Pool Austin Texas

Bartholomew Municipal pool is my favourite municipal pool.  It is 25 yards with Keifer lane ropes. The pool is not big and is separated into four lanes but it was never busy. I was able to lap swim alone every time I went and two out of three visits I was the only person there.  The lap swim cost for a non-resident was $4.

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin - Bartholomew pool
Swimming at outdoor pools requires a pair of chic sunglasses. This pair is the Rudy Project Astroloops.

Pros

  1. Beautiful water temperature at about 81 degrees.
  2. Not busy at all.
  3. 25 yard distance.

Cons

  1. No pace clock.
  2. No swimming toys like kick boards and pull buoys.
  3. No early morning swimming:  the lap swim was either 3pm-8pm or after noon on the weekend.
Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin - swimsuit by Blueseventy.com
Only me and one kid were at the pool so I asked him to get a photo and it is pretty blurry. Swimsuit by Blueseventy: www.blueseventy.com
My workout

200 swim 200 kick 200IM 200 kick 200 drill/swim

4x
6×50 15!! 35 easy pull/band :50
200 ppb aerobic 3:00

200 kick

2.  Barton Springs Pool Austin

Barton springs is a beautiful spring fed pool constructed in the 1940s.  At about 200m in length and about 20 meters across. Swimmers were doing long laps when I was there so it is a great option for open water training. Since I got in the water before 8 am it was FREE but if you are a non-resident at other times it is $8.

lap swimming in Austin Barton Springs
The Barton Springs pool is a great open water swim practice option.

The water is always somewhere between 68 and 72 F so it is a good option for testing your wetsuit.  I threw on my Blueseventy Helix to do an open water session when I was there after running on the trails around the river.

Pros

  1. No chlorine!  Natural spring water is wonderful to swim in.
  2. Cool temperature means you can do a hard workout in the water or practice in a wetsuit.
  3. Lake-like pool means open water training is possible with longer efforts and no walls.

Cons

  1. Swimmers may not like the open water setting.
  2. Disorganized so you need to keep your head up.
My workout

1000m straight swim

6x100m fast (halfway) :30 rest

3×600 mid race pace :30 rest

200 easy no wetsuit

running austin texas
Really loved running on the gravel paths by Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs. My Champion System singlet was perfect for the sticky humid weather!

3.  University of Austin Texas

I swam with the University of Texas Longhorns masters swimming group when I was in Austin.  To swim at this pool you need to contact the masters group and swim with them.  Whitney Hedgepeth is an excellent coach and the group is very fast.  I was the only triathlete in my lane as the group was a super fast bunch of former swimming phenoms.  The quality of swimming at this pool is very high!  To look into swimming here go to this link.  A punch pass to join the masters swim group is $110 for ten visits.

Pros

  1. Huge pool with lots of lanes and a variety of swim abilities.
  2. Lots of swim related toys for your workout.
  3. Perfect swimming temperature.
  4. Organized and motivating workout.
  5. The only indoor lap pool in Austin.

Cons

  1. A bit confusing to figure out parking your first time (garage across the street or on street parking – you can’t park on campus).
  2. You need to swim with the masters-you can’t do your own thing.
  3. Only the noon practice was available because the program is full. The time is restrictive and may not work for some people.
Best Lap Swimming Pools Austin longhorns masters
When I swim with swimmers I get serious. Wore the Blueseventy one piece for this swim.
My workout with the masters:

5:00 warmup (350)
2×25 fly 8 strokes fast
30″ vertical kick
5:00 pull (400m)
2×25 breast 8 strokes fast
30″vertical kick
5:00 free (400m)
2×25 free 8 strokes fast
30″ vertical kick

4x(10×75) as:
4 on 1:10
3 on :105
2 on 1:00
1 easy
Set 1/3 free swimming
Set 2/4 pull paddles

4.  Big Stacey Pool Austin

When I read about the Big Stacey pool, it was described as a spring-fed uncholorinated pool.  However, when I went lap swimming, I was asked to get out of the pool because there was no chlorine in it.  I think it is now a chlorine pool.

The pool is longer than 25m but well short of 50m. My guess is the British 33m length?  Although I was disappointed to not get to do my full workout when I was there, I would go back to this pool again. Swimming here is FREE!

Pros

  1. FREE to enter.
  2. Proper lane lines to organize the pool.
  3. A nice lap swim temperature.

Cons

  1. Apparently the issues with the chlorine are relatively frequent.
  2. No pace clock.
My workout

200 free 200 kick 200IM 200 kick 200 free
4x
2×50 band :70
6×50 free fast on :50
100 easy

5.  YMCA East Austin

Since I was staying in East Austin this was the closest pool for me.  I swam with my friend who is a member of the YMCA.   The pool at the East Austin YMCA was 25 yards in length with Kiefers separating each lane.

You can get a guest pass to swim off of their website but otherwise I am not sure you can drop in here like you can at the municipal pools.

Pros

  1. Six lap lanes for most of the day.
  2. A digital pace clock.
  3. 25 yard distance.
  4. Kick boards and pull buoys available.
  5. There is a full gym available for other workouts.
  6. Conveniently located right on the bike path.

Cons

  1. The temperature was very warm in late October.
  2. There is a bit of a weird current in the middle of the pool so if you are really looking at your times you may not like it.
  3. You may not be able to drop-in without a member.
My workout
lap swimming in austin ymca workout
My workout with Primal Endurance coach Jamie Cleveland which is a great triathlon group in the Austin area.

 

One pool where I didn’t go to swim on this trip was the Deep Eddy pool.  I visited this pool on a previous visit to Austin.  It is like a bathhouse out of the 1930s.  The pool is spring-fed and felt relatively cool in November.  The pool was split in half with lap lanes on one side and leisure swim area on the other.  This pool is iconic in Austin so although it is not part of this list, it is worth a visit.  It is $8 for non-residents to swim.

Let me know what you think of my list of pools to go lap swimming in Austin.  Did I miss any that I really should have visited?

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