In Shape / It's Life

Open Swim @ Memorial Park Pool

Ah it’s summer in Houston! Which means its hella hot as soon as the sun comes up to do any sort of cardio activity outside (looking at you, running). Memorial Park (SE corner of I-10 and 610) has a fabulous 3 mile running trail, but on days when you’d rather not swim in your own sweat, a great alternative is…well…actually swimming! And the Memorial Park Pool is perfect for that.

Opening on Memorial Day, the pool is available for lap swim from 6-10am, Tuesday though Friday, until the October 30th or when the water temperature drops below 72 degrees. It’s also open for open swim from 1-8pm. There is only one lane available at this time.

It’s a public pool, which is great because the cost to get in is only $1 (be sure to bring cash!) and there is a life guard on duty. And in the afternoon, during open swim it’s free! However, sometimes the pool just decides to shut down (pumps are broken, no lifeguard, etc.), so I like to be prudent and carry a pair of running shoes in my car in case my plans need to switch back to the run swim in my own sweat idea.

I’ve been going in the mornings before work and trying to arrive at 6am. There is a surprising number of people who turn up at the pool at this hour, so if you want your own lane, it’s best to arrive early. The pool has five lanes–plenty wide enough to be split down the middle and shared between multiple people. There are about 6 kickboards available for use and the pool also has a deep-end (for those inclined to treading).

The first few times I’ve gone to swim, I thought I was wildly out of shape because I felt like the wall was just so far away and I was just a tad bit more tired than I expected. But no, after counting my strokes and following up with some online research, I discovered that the pool was indeed 33 meters long (instead of the typical 25) so my “1500” workout ended up being closer to 2000m. Holla.

The pool has locker rooms inside with showers–although there is a janky sign that says it costs $0.82 to shower. Since I never have cash (I’m constantly trying to bribe the desk guy with miscellaneous Russian metro coins and Turkish money from the bottom of my wallet), I’ve never attempted to shower inside and just stick to the deck showers outside.

If you want to swim, Memorial Park Pool is a great option because it’s cheap, open early, and if you time it right you get to watch the sun rise!

Update 7/17/16: If you can’t make the morning hours, you can always try to do some lap swimming in the afternoon. The pool is open 1-8pm and is free to everyone.  I’ve gone twice around 1:30pm and there have been 3 or 4 other people doing “laps” (some people just mess around in the shallow end). There is only one lane available on the end, but it’s big so its easy to circle swim. Only issue with going at this time is that the lifeguards call for a 10 minute break at the top of every hour (e.g., 2:00-2:10pm). So you can’t get in more than 50 minutes of swimming, unless you show up right at 1pm and swim straight until 2pm.

Memorial Park PoolQuick Facts:

  • Where: Memorial Park, 6502 Arnot St, Houston, TX
  • Open Swim: 6- 10 am and 1-8pm, Tuesday – Friday
  • Dates: Memorial Day to October 30 (ish)
  • Cost: $1 cash in the morning, free in the afternoon
  • Showers: Inside/Outside
  • Length: 33 meters


7 thoughts on “Open Swim @ Memorial Park Pool

  1. You can also swim laps during the free public session from 1-8pm (though I think the later hours are for swim classes). The pool hasn’t been busy at all when I’ve gone and there is plenty of room in the lap lane.

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