Central Campus Pool to Offer Aquatics Programs

Duke Recreation and Physical Education will oversee pool programs and staffing

Starting April 7, Duke Recreation and Physical Education will begin offering aquatics programming and more lifeguards at the Central Campus Pool on Yearby Avenue. Photo by April Dudash
Starting April 7, Duke Recreation and Physical Education will begin offering aquatics programming and more lifeguards at the Central Campus Pool on Yearby Avenue. Photo by April Dudash

Starting in April, Duke Recreation and Physical Education will provide more lifeguards and offer programming at Central Campus Pool, where swim lessons, fitness challenges and family get-togethers can now be held in the sunshine.

Central Campus Pool will complement the indoor Brodie and Wilson pools, where Recreation and Physical Education has typically hosted aquatics programs. Until now, Central Campus Housing, Dining and Residence Life used a third-party company to provide lifeguards.

"It's always great when we can make some additions to what we're doing and to add value to what we do, too," said Felicia Tittle, executive director of Duke Recreation and Physical Education. "This will be our first outdoor pool here (through Duke Recreation). We don't have a lot of outdoor facilities outside of the fields. This gives people that kind of low-impact recreation."

The outdoor pool on Yearby Avenue will be open to students, staff, faculty and their family members as long as they have a DukeCard ID. They do not have to be a recreation center member to use the pool but will need to sign a waiver to use the facility, and that waiver will be kept on file for future visits. Only some of the aquatics programs, such as Red Cross swim lessons and safety training, will require a small fee.

Jan Ogilvie, the Duke assistant men's and women's track coach and former aquatics director, said she's excited for Duke Recreation and Physical Education to manage another pool, particularly one that will be available for staff and young families during the summer months. The discussion of Duke Recreation taking over Central Campus Pool began a few years ago, she added.

"There has been a lot of growth in the aquatics program at Duke over the last couple of years, and it seems like it's now time to take on that pool," Ogilvie said.

The enhancements at Central Campus Pool come as the Brodie Recreation Center, which houses a four-lane pool, undergoes maintenance and small renovations beginning April 7. Brodie's pool hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday to Friday, and renovations to the locker rooms are expected to be completed by August.

Steve McCune, aquatics director for Duke Recreation and Physical Education, said minor physical changes are planned for the Central Campus Pool facility, including new day lockers, lane lines for lap swimming, new signs and a fresh coat of paint in changing rooms. There also will be two to three lifeguards on duty at all times when the pool is open.

"Our lifeguards aren't just lifeguards," McCune said. "Some are aquatic instructors that teach swimming and Red Cross training, and they just love being around the water."

As far as programming, Duke Aquatics Recreation has already scheduled a swim challenge, which will run May through August, as a way to get people motivated for summertime fitness. Participants can sign up for free and "Swim the Amazon" by tracking their laps, and those who reach the 25-mile or 50-mile mark will win prizes such as T-shirts or swim equipment.

There also will be scheduled programs for a master's level swim team, water aerobics, adult and Red Cross youth swim lessons, and lifeguard trainings, which are open to Duke employees and the Durham community.

For those looking to kick back and leisure swim, Duke Recreation will provide equipment such as kickboards, pull buoys, hand paddles, fins, a water basketball hoop and children's toys.

Duke students, employees and their families will also have access to two charcoal grills and picnic tables. The pool is located directly behind the Devil's Bistro, a restaurant that offers sandwiches, salads and refreshments.

"This is for people who just want to read a book in the sun or bring their kid down and play water hoops," McCune said. "We don't really have that outlet anywhere else at this point. This is an opportunity to have family time. It's an opportunity to relax outside of class."