No Marco Polo. No kids taking short cuts through the lap lanes. No lifeguards shouting at rule-breakers — only Head Guard Chris Spurrier (pictured here), respectfully monitoring.
It’s the ultimate “adult swim” at Maplewood’s town pool. The “Commuter Swim”, part of the summer routine for over a decade. It starts at 6:30 every weekday, attracting up to 30 swimmers for an uninterrupted hour of swim.
“My workout motivation is gone by 9 a.m.,” says Marianne Lloyd, a Commuter Swim loyalist who’s training for her first triathlon, the Danskin Triathalon at Sandy Hook this September.
Three mornings a week, Lloyd runs, swims, drops her husband at the station for the 7:39, then heads to her own office, 10 minutes away, at Seton Hall University in South Orange, where she is an assistant professor in the psychology department. “The pool is great for relaxing during regular time,” she says, “but I would not count on it for triathlon training.”
During those regular hours, the pool attracts hundreds of Maplewoodians to its dive pool, kids’ pool, baby pool and Olympic-size regular pool. There’s a brief “adult swim” once an hour, but many “Commuter” swimmers are with their kids or caught up in conversation with friends and neighbors.
Regina Schaefer, Lloyd’s training partner, is the classic commuter: after her swim, she takes the 8:05 (most days) to New York; she’s Director of the Education unit at New York City Administration for Children’s Services. But you don’t have to be a commuter. Full disclosure: I work from my house but swim at 6:30 most mornings.
My fellow swimmers include Columbia High varsity swimmers; college athletes home for the summer, and retires. Chris Spurrier, a head guard who watches over the Commuters four mornings a week, says the athletes tend to swim in the deep-end lanes; slower swimmers, swim walkers and those who just take the time to float, in the shallower water.
All of them know the drill: bypass the main entrance (closed at this hour) for the back gate near the bike rack. If there are any other secrets known only to Commuter Swim loyalists, we won’t disclose them here. You have to show up.
But Lloyd notes one of her favorite (and obvious) features of morning swim: no pizza, no burgers, no Toasted Almond. The snack bar is closed.
Commuter swim is open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. It runs through Aug. 20.
Patricia Orsini is a freelance writer and editor lucky enough to live in a town with Commuter Swim.