by Laura Kocum
on Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 9:32am.
Remember the "good old days" when kids got up on a summer morning, played outdoors, and returned home at night? Parents didn't fear danger, and kids were free to roam the neighborhood. People assume that this is a throwback to another time, but in Madison, it's still happening at the neighborhood pools. The city is home to at least 13 neighborhood pools. Many are membership driven, but a few offer paid admission to the public. In either case, they are typically centrally located within neighborhoods, and offer a place where neighbors gather, children are known by name, and the staff keep a close eye. Between the neighborly atmosphere and the schedule of daily swim lessons, swim team, water ballet, and other events, kids can stay busy from morning to evening.
Parkcrest Pool is one of these locations. The pool is nearing its 50th anniversary. It was built at the beginning of the Parkwood Hills neighborhood, and homes were planned around it. The pool includes space for lap swimming, diving, a shallow kids area, and the pool grounds offer both tennis and basketball courts. Peter Zarov is a board member at Parkcrest, and his family has enjoyed the facility for years. "It's really become a neighborhood within a neighborhood. Parkcrest is a focal point of the area, and a regular gathering place for all ages," he says. Pool membership includes the cost of swim and dive lessons. And while the kids are gaining water safety skills, teens and adults are enjoying basketball and tennis leagues. The pool really does offer something for every age.
Madison is known nationally for its selection of pools, and its swim culture. Speedo ranked U.S. cities for their swim opportunities, and, in 2016, Madison was listed as #5. The city has more pools per population than any other, and has one of the highest numbers of USA ranked swimmers per capita in the nation. Each summer, the neighborhood pools work together to offer outdoor swim meets, culminating with the city's "All-City Swim Competition." The amateur meet is one of the largest outdoor swim events in the country, and includes more than 2,000 swimmers. "There is virtually no other swim meet in the nation that allows swimmers of all skill levels to participate," says Zarov.
No matter where you choose to live in town, you are likely to have a pool nearby. And the benefits extend beyond just the swimming. Madison pools are a place where friendships are cultivated, memories are made, and neighborhoods are brought together. Browse through the pool links below to learn more about the possibilities: