Public Pools Gross Me Out. So Why Do We Keep Swimming?
Every year, my husband and I pay a membership fee to our town’s Jewish Community Center, primarily to have access to its popular fitness center. Our membership also includes use of the facility’s indoor and outdoor pools.
In the five or so years that we’ve been members, I think I’ve used the indoor pool only a handful of times, including two visits to the kiddie pool for toddler swim lessons. Public pools – especially indoor ones – gross me out. From the always-wet tile floors to the heavy, humid air, they feel like breading grounds for germs and other icky things.
(I’m not totally paranoid: In a recent CDC study of Atlanta-area public swimming pools, researchers found fecal contamination in 60% of the pools sampled. Water samples also revealed that 58% of the pools tested positive for E. coli.)
Outdoor public pools freak me out a little bit less because the concrete walkways aren’t damp and the air isn’t musty. But there’s always a chance of poop in the pool.
Still, I’d rather swim in our members-only public pool (meaning anyone can become a member) than one of the township’s neighborhood pools. To start, I’d like to think that some of my membership goes directly to keeping the pools clean. How much of our tax dollars go towards maintaining neighborhood pools?
Second, the JCC pool has free towel service.
I hope my family will make frequent trips to the pool this summer now that my son enjoys splashing and playing in the water, but if last year was any indication, we’ll be spending more time in the backyard with his water table and a sprinkler.
It’s not solely my fear of poopy water or floating strands of hair keeping us at home. It’s the fact that preparing to leave, schlepping our supplies (minus towels), and collecting everything to come back is just a huge pain in the ass. Last year we spent almost as much time coming and going as we did in the pool itself!
Where do you prefer to swim during the summer?