Take out the swim goggles, but leave the sunglasses at home. Indoor pools are a great way to get in a swim no matter how low the thermometer dips.
"It's the biggest bargain in town," says Sheila Isaacs, 77, of Shoreham, who swims at least twice a week at the Brookhaven Aquatics pool in Mastic Beach. Isaacs is a triathlete on Team USA, a national triathlon organization that competes internationally. "It's a great way to get in exercise when you can't get it outside otherwise," she says.
Others agree that swimming indoors can help fight the winter blahs.
"I needed a workout," says Joe Pantaleo 66, of East Moriches after doing some laps there. "Winter is a tough time."
At the Town of Brookhaven facility, the water is a balmy 85 degrees in the 25-meter pool. There are plenty of open swim times and lanes for lap swimming. The facility also holds Aqua Zumba classes and swim lessons in the winter months. A new competitive swim team has just been formed there, too, says facility manager Justin Martin, and family swim Sundays are a great time to bring the kids.
At the Nassau County indoor pool in Eisenhower Park, mammoth is the word. Built for the 1998 Goodwill Games, the complex includes a heated Olympic-sized (50-meter) pool combined with a 25-meter lap pool surrounded by windows that make it feel cheery even on a blustery winter's day. There's also two 1-meter and two 3-meter diving boards and a 2,000-seat balcony looking over the pool area for those who want to stay dry but watch the fun.
At Suffolk Community College, a $10 day pass gets a swimmer into the 25-meter, eight lane pool. Water aerobics and a sauna are available.
"We have everyone -- from Iron Man triathletes to beginner swimmers," says James Dello-Iacono, director of aquatics and fitness at the college. "We have kids to a 92-year-old guy who swims laps every day."
WHERE TO SWIM
Portions of pools or the entire pool area can be rented for private use, so it's best to check the website or call ahead to check on open swim times. Many high schools have pools open to the public on weekends and some health clubs have day passes for nonmembers.
Eisenhower County Park, East Meadow
INFO Aquaerobics, Aquajog, Aqua Zumba
COST Residents with county leisure pass pay a day fee of $5 adults, $3 ages 4-17. Nonresidents or residents without leisure pass pay $15 adults, $10 children.
Nassau and Roosevelt boulevards, West Hempstead
INFO For Town of Hempstead residents. There's a main heated pool and a 12-foot-deep dive tank.
COST $7-$8 adults (depending on village residency), $3.50-$4 ages 5-9, seniors, handicapped, veterans, fire and ambulance and auxiliary police volunteers.
1000 Fulton Ave., Uniondale,
INFO The Olympic-sized pool, located in the Physical Education Center, has four diving boards.
COST $100 for a monthly pass for non-Hofstra-related public. Discounts for Hofstra retirees, alumni and senior citizens.
1801 Evergreen Ave., New Hyde Park
INFO Heated pool with a new figure-eight slide, shallow area with six water sprays, and lap swimming.
COST Resident day passes $11, $8 ages 13-17, $7 ages 3-12, $6 seniors/veterans/disabled/volunteer firefighters. Nonresidents $14.
700 Magnolia Blvd., Long Beach
INFO Olympic-sized pool, free and lap swimming. Swimnastic, arthritis and new surfing classes for extra fee.
COST $7 adults, $3 ages 16 and younger and seniors for both residents and nonresidents.
130 E. Merrick Rd., Freeport
INFO Open to all, the 30-meter heated pool has lap and open swim.
COST $10 for village residents, $12 nonresidents.
300 Mastic Beach Rd., Mastic Beach
INFO A 25-meter pool heated to 85 degrees. Lap lanes and open swim areas. Family swim day Sunday.
COST $4-$12 day pass depending on residency and age.
1001 Crooked Hill Rd., Brentwood
Located in Health, Sports and Education Center, 631-851-6900
INFO Built in 2000, the 25-meter heated pool has eight lanes and shallow area.
COST $10 day pass for residents of both counties.