Burbank, CA

Verdugo Aquatic Center in Burbank Offers an Affordable Olympic-Sized Workout

Michael Loren

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The Verdugo Aquatic Center in Burbank is the perfect place for adults and children to spend a fun day in the sun. The massive pool is well-maintained and the kiddie splash pool that is separate from the "grownup" pool is adorable with shaded areas and a huge slide. One of the things many people don't realize, though, is that, for early birds and night owls, the Aquatic Center in Burbank is a fantastic place to get your workout on.

Burbank's Verdugo Aquatic Center is operated in part by the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department and is one of Burbank's hidden secrets for an affordable and refreshing workout locale. The pool is open for 45-minute lap swim sessions in the early morning and evening. On Mondays through Fridays from 5:30am - 8:30am and 6:30pm - 7:30pm (except Fridays), and weekends from 7am - 11am you can reserve yourself a lane in the pool for as little as $5.

Some prefer a $25 hot yoga class or a $18 spinning class, but for me, swimming under the rising or settting sun where I can backstroke and watch the clouds for $5 is an opportunity worth taking.

Burbank residents can sign up for the lap swim by going to the city of Burbank Parks & Recreation website every Monday after 9am to snag a spot. Non-residents can sign up for the week on Tuesdays at the same time. (The non-Burbank resident charge is $7 per 45-minute lap swim). Lifeguards are on duty the entire time and swimmers share a lane with only one other person (lanes are first come, first served).

When I signed up for my first lap swim, I was checked in by a very friendly Burbank employee who gave me the skinny on the pool rules and directed me through the impeccably maintained locker room. Lockers are available along with showers and restrooms. I noticed something as I walked through, though. It was interestingly quieter than I would have thought.

It was 6:20am when I arrived for the second group of lap swimmers at the Aquatic Center and, other than the friendly gentleman who checked me in, folks were simply walking in, dropping their things, and getting their swim on. No chatting, music, or other noise. For a huge facility with more than 20 people in the area, it was pretty quiet. The pool was perfectly heated, very chlorinated (a nice relief during a global pandemic), and extremely peaceful.

I hopped into the refreshingly cool (but not freezing) pool and listened to the sound of the moving water around me. Some people were swimming like they were training for the Olympics. Others were rocking kickboards and barely moving. I figured I was somewhere in the middle, so I put on my goggles, pushed off the wall, and started not-so-gracefully gliding through the water.

From time to time, people paused, stretched, grabbed some water, and politely chatted with their lanemates (mine was a grandmother visiting her daughter from Wisconsin). But otherwise, the polite swish-swish of the water as it sparkled and splashed in the rising Burbank sun was a welcome and wonderful way to start my morning.

I swam and stretched in the water at the edge of the pool on and off for the next 45 minutes. Then I hopped out of the pool, dried off, put my jammies back on, and drove home. When I arrived at 7:30am, the house was still completely silent. I felt ecstatic. I had gotten up, gone on a complete adventure, and made it home before anyone woke up.

I smiled and made myself a cup of coffee to sip while I washed the chlorine out of my hair. For five bucks, this Burbank adventure was well worth the money and the early alarm. I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the Burbank area. Just make sure to sign up online first. Happy summer swimming.

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Professional writer and journalist with concentration in data analysis. I specialize in interpreting data to give you unbiased, understandable information related to the state of California.

Los Angeles, CA
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