Ready for Swimmers
Redstone Arsenal's Gaylene Wilson, FMWR sports and fitness director, left, and Kati Reeb, FMWR aquatics director, oversee the finishing touches of the Redstone Aquatics Center.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Members of Team Redstone who like to make a splash in their workout no longer need to wait for the summer months to do so on post -- they can dive right into the new Redstone Aquatics Center.

The center will have a soft opening Jan. 28 through Feb. 1, allowing for lap swimming only. There will be an open house Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pool's official opening date is Feb. 4.

"The mission of the Aquatics Center and, more importantly, its staff, is to provide an exceptional resource supporting the wellness and physical fitness of our Soldiers, families and work force," Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton said. "We have a very large, diverse work force at Redstone that need a wide variety of means to address their specific physical fitness needs. Swimming is an outstanding form of exercise that works almost every muscle in your body and the opening of this facility allows our work force to pursue swimming as a year-round program."

Located in building 3705, the former Redstone Fitness Center off Patton Road, the Aquatics Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-6:45 p.m., as well as Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon. It will primarily be used for lap swimming and swim team, as well as water aerobics and adult swimming lessons. Water aerobics will be held each morning from 8 to 9. Lap swim is available any time, but lanes will be adjusted as other activities are scheduled.

Daily use of the pool is free for active duty, $2 for active duty family members, $3 for authorized users and $5 for guests. Authorized users, considered to be anyone who has a badge to access the installation, including Department of Defense civilians, contractors and FMWR members, may bring one guest. Punch cards, good for 30 visits within 12 months of purchase, are $50 for active duty family members and $75 for authorized users. Cost of an annual pass is $120 for individual active duty family members, $150 for an active duty family pass, $150 for individual authorized users and $175 for authorized user families. The Aquatics Center is not included with an FMWR membership and one does not need to be an FMWR member to use the pool.

Unlike some of FMWR's other pools open during the summer, the Aquatics Center is not meant to be a come-and-play location for families, but rather, a place for adults who are focused on getting their workout done in the water.

"Swimming is easier on the joints and it's more relaxing," Kati Reeb, FMWR aquatics director, said. "You can get your workout in and done. There's a bunch of different strokes and workout plans you can do in the water, including water aerobics, which is really great for the older community."

The addition of the Aquatics Center will also greatly benefit the Arsenal's youth swim team, the Launchers, who previously had to find a place off post to practice during the fall, winter and spring months. Seven feet deep on both ends, 4 feet in the middle, the eight-lane, 25-yard pool built to competitive high school swimming specs comes complete with starting blocks and a Colorado Time System with digital scoreboard. The facility will also be ideal for triathletes in training.

"They'll have access to more water space, which is a hot commodity in the city of Huntsville," Reeb said. "Their indoor facilities are shrinking because there's so many teams that want to practice."

Proper swim attire is required for use of the pool. Street clothes, including gym and basketball shorts, are prohibited. Male swim trunks must have a mesh lining and female suits must be fully lined. As when it was the Redstone Fitness Center, locker rooms and sauna will be available for patrons' use.

"The Aquatics Center will offer the community an opportunity to swim year-round, something that has previously not been available on the Arsenal," Derrick Gould, director of Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation, said. "It adds another option for our customers in terms of fitness and exercise. We are always looking for opportunities to grow and expand our services. This just adds another element to our fitness options and allows our customers to stay on the Arsenal to exercise, rather than having to go off post. This will lead to less time away from work and potentially fewer vehicles on the road."

It is an expansion that FMWR patrons have been anxiously awaiting, said Gaylene Wilson, FMWR sports and fitness director.

"This has been on the leisure needs survey for many, many years," Wilson said. "The number one request has been an indoor pool. The people have spoken and we've finally answered it. People who are now paying to swim off post will get better fees here, and they'll be able to come before work, on lunch or after work."

Page last updated Wed January 23rd, 2013 at 11:58