Wednesday, August 31, 2011

9 Great Places to Train in Atlanta - #6 Swimming at MLK Natatorium!

“This is no time for apathy and complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I started coming to the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium back in 2008 when I was coaching a group of athletes who wanted help with their swimming. It was a great place to swim because they had recently remodeled the facility, it was open to the public and it was only $2 per visit. Things have changed a bit over the years. They no longer allow me to provide swimming lessons (they have their own instructors), they are closed on Fridays and they now charge $4 per visit. Regardless, it is still a great place to swim in Atlanta! I especially enjoy swimming at MLK in the morning. The floor-to-ceiling windows give a wonderful view of the sunrise!

The pool is located at 70 Boulevard NE near Auburn Ave. The parking lot at the natatorium is closed. Parking is free and the lot is located on John Wesley Dobbs Ave NE off of Boulevard near Jackson St. NE. It is always a pleasure walking from the parking lot to the natatorium and reading the plaques on the sidewalk with the names of the “soldiers of justice” who promoted equality for all. This is known as the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and includes names such as Rosa Parks, President Jimmy Carter, Justice Thurgood Marshall, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mayor Maynard Jackson, just to name a few.

The natatorium is open for lap swimming Monday through Thursday, starting at 6:00am and goes until 5:00pm. They are also open in the evening, starting at 6:30pm until 8:00pm. There are several activities happening on Saturdays, however I have usually been able to swim between 10:00 – 11:00am. The pool is closed on Fridays and Sundays. Be sure to call the folks at MLK at 404-658-7330 if you have any doubt about when they are open for lap swimming.

The indoor pool has six 25-yard lanes. The temperature of pool varies, however it is usually set around 80 degrees. There are locker rooms and showers on the bottom level, along with a workout room that is also open to the public.

I would definitely recommend purchasing a City of Atlanta Office of Recreation Aquatic annual pass for $110. This pass will allow you to swim at all the city pools, including Chastain Park and Grant Park. All you need is documentation that you are a resident of the City of Atlanta and a money order. Take these two items to MLK and they will provide you with the pass after you finish your swim workout!

I will be heading to the pool at MLK more often now that summer is winding down and the outdoor pools will be closing. I hope you all keep up your training over the Fall and Winter! The Spring races will be here before you know it!

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