Get Outside with Duke Recreation

Swimming classes and adventure trips highlight fall schedule

Vann Rolfson and his family attended a Family Fun Swim event at Brodie Recreation Center last year. Duke community members receive discounts on pool programs and outdoor adventure trips and clinics. Photo courtesy of Duke Recreation.

With two young girls just learning to swim, Vann Rolfson knew that having Duke's recreation facilities at his disposal is a good benefit to have.

After seeing a flier for a "Family Fun Swim" at the Brodie Recreation Center's indoor swimming pool last year, he brought his girls Evelyn, 7, and Lily, 5, to get better introduced to the water. As foam noodles and inflatable toys floated around them, Rolfson and his girls splashed around and laughed.

"We had such a good time, I ended up scheduling private swimming lessons for my girls," said Rolfson, a graduate student at the Sanford School of Public Policy. "As a Duke student and parent, it was something I hadn't anticipated as another benefit of being at Duke. It was a good surprise."

Even better, Rolfson - like all Duke community members - received a discount on the cost.

In addition to aquatic fun, Duke Recreation offers a variety of trips and clinics open to the Duke community. Students, faculty and staff also have the chance to sign up for hiking/camping trips, backpacking clinics, rock climbing lessons, horseback trail riding and mountain biking trips. Upcoming events include a kayak clinic on Sept. 17 and mountain biking at Lake Crabtree County Park Sept. 23.

Last year, Partha Ray, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Surgery, signed up for a horseback riding trip to Happy Trails Farm in Wake Forest.

"I hadn't been riding before, so I wanted to give it a try and thought it would be fun to have interaction with people outside my close working community," Ray said. "I'm from India, and I met people from Brazil, Turkey, China and Iran. We had a very nice time together talking about culture, food and learning to ride."

With upcoming events scheduled throughout the fall, Duke employees receive free or discounted admission to several activities:

  • Family Fun Swims - Free for gym members; $10 per family for Duke employee, non-gym members
  • Swimming lessons - Save up to $90, depending on number requested

The next Family Fun Swim is 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 15 and 16. Swimming lessons begin Sept. 22. A full list of events and classes is on the Duke Recreation website.

"It's wonderful to be able to have fun, recreational activities that are valuable to the Duke students, employees and their families," said Bonnie Adams, aquatics coordinator for Duke Recreation. "Swimming is one of the best activities for overall physical benefits. Being able to share our knowledge of swimming with those that want to learn is exciting to our department."