Which pool do you go to?
West Chester has a couple of different options when it comes to getting your summer fix. They fall into four basic categories. You have your swim clubs, your athletic clubs, your apartment pools and your generous neighbors (if you are so lucky.)
A couple of years ago we made the switch from the YMCA pool to a swim club. This option is pricier than the Y pool (especially now that the pool is included with your family membership. More on that below) and there is no waterpark, but it’s closer to our house and it’s where the kids’ school friends are so that (and the peace that comes from entertained kids) has made the investment worth it for our family.
If you are still debating where to go for your summer pool membership, you’ll want to begin to solidify your summer plans now because, unfortunately, West Chester does not have a public pool and many of the other options will fill up.
Here are your choices:
West Chester Swim Clubs
Where I grew up, we didn’t have swim clubs. You just chose between the public pool and the country club or, for the naturalists, the city’s man-made lake. The whole idea of a swim club feels very Don and Betty Draper to me, which I am not saying is a bad thing.
If you are looking to join a swim club, just make a note to start the process early and be prepared for a waitlist, as the clubs fill up quickly. Roslyn Swim Club already has a waitlist of more than 100 families for the 2023 season.
“Most clubs will have waiting lists since there are not that many clubs for such a large area as ours,” shared one helpful neighbor on NextDoor.
As of the writing of this article, two of the clubs are at capacity for the 2023 swim season but Waterview still had a few openings available.
Waterview Swim Club
About: Waterview Swim Club is located on a beautiful three-acre property in residential West Chester, PA.
Location: 2 Waterview Road, West Chester, PA
Membership requirements: The membership fee is based on family size. For a family of four the cost is $675. An early bird discount of $50 per membership is offered to those that sign up before Feb. 13.
Swim team: Waterview sharks
Facilities: Main pool, wading pool, picnic area with grill, playground, basketball court, shuffleboard, snack bar
Events/activities: Swim team, swim lessons, lifeguard training courses, in previous years they have also hosted onsite events such as a school’s out pizza party, teen party, movie nights, and raft night
Pool opens: May 27
Roslyn Swim Club
About: Or as described on their website: “A neighborhood pool where families and friends gather to enjoy the sun, water, and companionship.”
Location: 838 Spruce Avenue, West Chester, PA
Membership requirements: The membership fee is based on family size. For a family of four, the annual cost is $565 plus an annual pool improvement fee of $75 and for new members, an initiation fee is also due. The $400/one-time fee is paid out in $200 increments over the first two years of membership. Trying to keep that straight in your head? A joining family of four would pay $840 for their first year.
Swim team: Roslyn Stingrays
Facilities: Baby pool, lap pool, water slide, pavilion, onsite grills
Events/activities: Swim lessons, pool parties, adult socials
Pool opens: May 27
While Roselyn is currently working through its existing waiting list for the season, they are still accepting new member families. Think Rosyln might be in your future get in line now. “Your name stays on the list until we get to you,” said Membership coordinator Stefanie Heron-Birl. “The sooner you fill it out the better!”
Rosyln also offers an August-only membership which can be a cost-effective way to see if the swim club experience is for you. “You get to try it out and see if it’s a good fit for you and it automatically gets you in as a full member the following year,” said Stefanie.
Wedgewood Swim Club
About: Wedgewood is a member-owned and run swim club. They describe themselves as a place “where families come to meet.” A member of NextDoor attested to that saying, “It’s a great community and the swim team is fun!”
Location: 957 S. Matlack Street, West Chester, PA
Membership requirements: Membership is $545/year for a family of four for the season. In addition to membership dues, members must pay a club improvement fee ($550/billed over the first two years and $75 per year thereafter.) and invest in a bond for the pool which is another $500. However, that $500 expense is reimbursed when the member leaves the club and the bond is sold to a new family.
So, if you are a family of four thinking of becoming a Whale you will need $1320 to secure your spot.
Swim team: Wedgewood Whales
Facilities: Main pool with a diving area; lap pool; Baby pool; Bathroom and shower area; Covered pavilion with TV, deck large picnic area; charcoal grills
Events/activities: pool parties, bingo, swim lessons, basketball, volleyball, and horseshoe pits.
Wedgewood also has a “lengthy” waitlist for the 2023 season but it is never too early to get line. “You can apply for membership and your name will stay on the waitlist until we get to your position,” their membership team shared.
Pool season runs: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Quarry Swim Association
About: The Quarry Swim Association is West Chester’s only natural swimming hole. It’s also one of the oldest organized swim clubs in the United States and certainly the most secretive in the West Chester area. I had a very hard time finding anything about this hidden gem located at the former site of Brinton’s quarry, which according to The American Mineralist opened in 1730 – the quarry, not the swim club. While the quarry was best known for the distinctive green serpentine rock that was mined there, the swim club seems to be known for the wonder of the quarry itself.
While the swim club website is down, a link to the History of the Quarry written in 2002 remains. Written in celebration of the Quarry’s 100th anniversary as a swim club it provides so helpful insights into this mysterious wonder. Including the following description:
“You might well remember the first time you saw the Quarry. You, like us, were probably struck by the unique natural beauty and improbable setting that unfolded before you. It’s difficult to adequately describe that setting to someone else, just as it’s challenging to give meaning to the Quarry’s ancient geological origins.”
But it does exist: ” Just wanted to let you know there is another swim club in West Chester,” a current member emailed me. “There is a beach and volleyball. It’s absolutely heaven on earth.”
Location: 1153 S. New Street
Membership requirements: Members of the Quarry Swim club are required to purchase a Certificate of Membership. In 1962, over 100 future members agreed to purchase these membership certificates at $100/per family thus raising the funds needed to purchase the property from its owner.
“The issuance of a Certificate of Membership, still $100, remains as an integral part of the admissions process,” The History of the Quarry states. I cannot confirm the price of a Certificate of Membership is still $100 today, but I would guess the Certificate of Membership is.
Membership at this natural quarry is purposefully kept quite small and while the exact process has changed a bit over the years, you’re not getting in without knowing someone.
“Whatever the language, it’s still informal, by invitation only,” The History says.
Facilities: Sand beach, volleyball, natural swimming hole
Fitness Center Swimming Pools
West Chester YMCA
About: Spend the summer “cool at the pool” with your membership to the West Chester YMCA outdoor pool. Their words, but we enjoyed our time there and as one Next Door contributor described it: “The Y is nice and has slides and other fun things to climb on in the pool.” Also, as a bonus, this year outdoor pool access is included with your basic membership.
Location: 605 Airport Road, West Chester, PA
Membership requirements: New this year – For the first time since it opened in 2009, outdoor pool access is included with membership. As long as you meet the following requirements:
- you are a member in good standing (no holds) before March 31, 2023
- you maintain your membership through the pool season.
- you have a full membership. Youth, short-term and Oscar Lasko-only memberships do not include outdoor pool access.
If you don’t join by the March 31 deadline you can still access the pool you’ll just need to pay a one-time pool fee – $249 for individuals, $449 for two adult families plus kids, and $499 for family units with three or four adults plus kids.
Note the fee rate will not be prorated as the summer goes on. So if you are planning on joining, do it sooner rather than later to make sure you get the most out of it.
Swim team: The Marlins
Facilities: Baby pool, six-lane adult pool, interactive pirate ship with dumping bucket, multiple pool slides, snack bar.
Events/activities: The pool hosts themed events throughout the summer. Also, you’ll have gym, childcare and class access as you need to be a member to join the pool. Note: Y campers also use the pool so it can get crowded during the day.
Pool opens: May 27 and runs through Labor Day
ACAC Fitness and Wellness Center
Location: 1130 McDermott Drive, West Chester, PA
Membership requirements: Much like the Y, ACAC does not have a separate outdoor pool fee. Access to the two outdoor pools, indoor pools, group exercise classes, Kids Zone childcare, and towel service (not sure what that entails but sounds fancy) are all included with membership. A family membership costs $214/month (there is a minimum one year commitment), plus, a one-time sign-up fee. According to an ACAC Membership Coordinator, the cost of the fee varies depending on whether or not you qualify for any discounts.
Swim team: The Dolphins
Facilities: Two waterslides, baby pool, lap pool, café
Activities/events: Pool parties, swim lessons, poolside café offering sandwiches, smoothies, and more. Also, gym and class access as you need to be a member to join the pool.
Pool opens: TBD, but the heated pools at ACAC allow for an extended outdoor season.
West Chester Country Club
About: According to their website, the club emphasizes family togetherness, enjoyment, and relaxation. Sounds like summer to me.
Location: 111 W. Ashbridge Street, West Chester, PA
Membership requirements: You can join as a full social member that includes all the amenities (tennis, pool, dining ,and golf) or you can join just the pool. There are still dining requirements with the pool membership and in addition to the cost of the annual membership and the bi-monthly dining minimums, there are monthly improvement fees, a one-time initiation fee, and a certificate purchase.
Swim team: WCGCC Piranhas
Facilities: 25-meter lap pool with diving board, baby pool with fountains, full-service kitchen with wait staff, and full bar.
Activities/events: Pool parties and (in case “full-service” bar wasn’t clear) poolside cocktails.
Pool opens: Memorial Day
Now, if you have the foresight and the means, perhaps the easiest way to guarantee you have a place to swim all summer, is to rent from a building with a pool.
Try: New Kent, Heather Glen, Heather Glen, The Pointe at Windermere, Chestnut Square, or the newly opened Luxor Lifestyle Apartments – all of which list “swimming pool” among their amenities.
Or maybe it’s time to pay those neighbors with the beautiful in-ground pool a surprise visit?
Summer is nearly upon us. Enjoy.
Plus, don’t forget West Chester’s splash park.
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