Health + Fitness

Dive Into NOLA’s 3 Best Pools For a Workout

New Orleans Athletic Club pool (Photo: Joshua Brasted)

Swimming is your thing. It’s your ritual and you don’t like to go without it. Well, it turns out you don’t have to. New Orleans has you covered with well-equipped lap pools and expert swim coaches.

Kicking It Old School: New Orleans Athletic Club (NOAC)

Dive into the pool at the heart of the New Orleans Athletic Club and take a swim back in time. NOAC, founded in 1872, is one of the oldest health clubs in the United States, and it has the columns, wrought iron balcony, and tropical foliage to prove it. In fact, Johnny Weissmuller once swam at the NOAC!

The 20-yard pool is heated to 82 degrees year-round. Water aerobics are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6–7 p.m. At all other times, the pool is dedicated to lane swimming. If you’re interested in a supervised training session, you can even book a session with in-house swim coach Karl Ault.

A day at the NOAC offers so much more than luxurious swimming. The NOAC features a library, ballroom, and a pub where movers and shakers mix with celebrities in Hollywood South — very New Orleans.

The details: A day pass can be purchased for $20 by all hotel guests with room keys and photo identifications.

Swimming Near the Lakeshore: University of New Orleans Aquatic Center

For a classic, not-too-competitive, not-too-lax workout, visit the University of New Orleans Aquatic Center, located in Lakeview. The center offers a 50-meter indoor lap pool and a 25-yard outdoor pool so you can sunbathe while you exercise. Arrive in the early morning or evening for the best chances to find an open lane. If you’re looking to train, the Aquatic Center also offers lessons at all levels, taught by professional trainers.

The details: A day pass can be purchased for $5 and remains valid for three hours. The pool is open Monday–Saturday except for days with meets. Check their website for swim meet scheduling to make sure there are available lanes on any given day.

Training Day: Elmwood Fitness Center

If you’re in the mood to get serious with your training, look no farther than the Elmwood Fitness Center. It offers the most extensive selection of swim trainers in the New Orleans area. These national-caliber coaches offer an underwater analysis and a stroke improvement program. You are guaranteed to improve whether you’re a competitive athlete or a hobbyist looking to pick up more speed.

Elmwood does not sacrifice amenities for rigor. It boasts an indoor saltwater pool, an outdoor chlorinated pools, as well as a whirlpool and cold dip. Cafe Zucchini, located indoors, and a poolside cafe and bar outdoors offer post-workout energy boost — that, of course, include libations in the spirit of New Orleans.

The details: Lessons are available in 30 and 45-minute segments. To find out when private lessons are available, contact the center. Some area hotels without workout centers offer short term memberships with booking, check with your concierge to see if yours qualifies. Access for the pools is available for $10 with a valid photo identification.