When the temperature dropped into the single digits last week, I went into full-on warm weather envy. I drooled over tropical get-a-ways, looked for some cheap last minute flights and wondered if I could scrape together the cash needed to leave this frigid weather behind.
It didn’t take long to realize the logistics (and finances) of a winter vacation aren’t feasible this year, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be putting on a bathing suit. Just a few clicks later I was on the Portsmouth Indoor Pool website. I chose one of the 10 parent-and-child group swim classes they offer and on Thursday, my daughter and I were bobbing around (briefly) in the 80 degree water.
The Seacoast is lucky to have two public indoor pools, giving people access to a great way to get exercise during the winter months. Portsmouth Indoor Pool is open from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. There are classes for parents and pre-school children and swimming lessons for kids and adults. The Portsmouth Recreation Department offers classes like water aerobics and water yoga and pilates. Membership is $25 a month for residents and the cost for the 8-week classes range from $40 to $75.
Dover Indoor Pool is also open at 5:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. during the week and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Like Portsmouth, the pool also has lessons for children and exercise classes for adults. Dover offers drop-in rates for their classes and recreational swim times, which makes for an affordable and easy way to check out the pool or a class before committing any major finances. The drop-in fee for residents is $5 or $50 for a 12-visit punch card. For non-residents, the cost is $7 for a drop-in or $70 for the 12-visit card. Annual and 6-month memberships are also available is you’re serious about your swimming.
I’ve been a swimmer since I could walk. Trips to the lake and visiting friends’ pools were frequent until around age 12 when my parents built an above-ground pool in our backyard and I was swimming every day the sun shined. I took swimming lessons each summer throughout elementary school. I clearly remember standing on the side of the East Rochester pool, waiting to dive into the cold, late summer water, knowing the only thing that would get me warmer was pushing through that initial shock when I hit the water and finish a few laps.
Even in adulthood, I crave swimming. There is something about the weightlessness and the way the water cools and relaxes every muscle in the body that is like nothing else. Now that I’m a mom, I want my daughter to love swimming too.
I had hoped for a baby who took immediately to the water, who splashed her face underwater without fear and kicked and moved her arms like it were an inherent skill. But as often happens as a parent, my fantasy didn’t exactly line up with reality. Five minutes into our class, I was the one parent sitting on the side of the pool with my daughter wrapped in a towel, shivering and sniffing back tears. She didn’t really get the appeal of getting into an uncomfortable bathing suit and splashing around in an over-sized bathtub early in the morning. Perhaps she’s a little more logical than I was. Or maybe I’ll find her kicking and splashing with the rest of the toddlers next week. Either way, I’m not worried. There will be plenty of time, and there are plenty of classes available, to find out if my daughter loves to swim as much as I do.