Sunday, July 22, 2012

Parkwood Swim Club

What It Is: Parkwood Swim Club is an outdoor swimming pool that is not-for-profit and open to members and their guests from Memorial to Labor Day.  There are various depths of the main pool from 3-9 feet plus a fenced baby pool.  The 9-foot section has diving boards and there is a covered picnic area and plenty of chairs for lounging.  One lane is roped and can be used for lap swimming if desired.

The pool is very conveniently located for us in S. Durham (Parkwood neighborhood) on Clermont Rd past the elementary school.  In fact, the road dead-ends into the pool parking lot.  This pool is never at capacity, yet we always see friends while there.  We love that the children usually have someone their age to play with, yet it’s not so busy that as parents we have to hover to see them.  The lifeguards are very attentive and the rules of swimming and diving are clearly visible.  And let’s face it, with so many hot days the water has been perfect!  In the evening, most of the pool is in the shade so it is a very refreshing end to the day.  I even sneak in a 10-minute lap swim during breaks to attain my required daily physical activity.

What They Offer: For $325/season, the pool has open swimming from 11am until evening (the time depends on the day) with the baby pool and swimming lessons beginning at 10am.  Parkwood also has a championship swim team that both members and non-members can join.  The Piranhas have quite a reputation in the Durham Summer Swim League (DSSL).  The Parkwood Piranha coaches teach great sportsmanship and teamwork in addition to honing swimming skills.  (Pool members receive a discounted rate for swim team by the way, so the affordability factor is increased again).  The pool also has a big July 4th celebration with an inflatable slide and lots of contests and food.  My kiddos really got into the contests this year, including a good showing in the “family relay” race.  Granted, E had his flippers on but hey, he’s 5.

What We Liked: Since this is just a swimming pool, the cost is very reasonable.  I know I wouldn’t use a fitness club or tennis courts as much, so this is perfect for us.  The guards regularly speak with the children when not on duty, which I really appreciate.  I don’t want my children to fear the lifeguards (because sometimes they must reprimand them gently for breaking a rule but it’s not the end of the world).  My son’s most common offense is running.  I must say it 10 times a day when we’re at the pool – no one else has this problem, right?!.  Second, there are pool noodles and baby pool toys that belong to the pool.  Very convenient!  And there is a snack bar with drinks and snacks and my kiddos’ favorite – ice pops.  For twenty-five cents, they’re a great reward for a new skill learned or praise for good behavior.  My kids seem to be on their best behavior at the pool, even *gasp* playing TOGETHER!  That is priceless.

What We Would Change: In May/June, the sun can be unbearable so a few more shade structures would be lovely.  And if I’m dreaming, steps or a shelf in the 3-foot section would help moms with tots get in more easily.  But for the most part, this pool fits our needs exactly and is a great way to cool off and enjoy the summer outdoors in NC.  We’ve been to plenty of pools and we keep coming back to Parkwood.  It has a winning combination of great members and a sense of community that is hard to find.

Website and other important information:

Address: 1615 Clermont Rd, Durham NC 27713

Prices: August/September memberships for 2012: $175!!
Guests of members: $5/person (each family receives 5 free guests each season)

Full season (early bird discount): $325 plus one-time $75 fee


(The pool)

(baby pool)

(life guards having fun during a break)

(pool structure that you see when you're walking up)

(Walking from the pool to the parking lot)

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