Wilson Aquatic Center

Hoagie fueled Capitol swim in Washington D.C.

Hoagie fueled Capitol swim in D.C.

Knowing the pool was on the Wilson High School campus, I really wasn’t sure what to expect of pool #4, I’d researched several pools in the area before choosing this one for today’s swim.

Read a review that said they alternate days for the lane setup from 50m to 25 yards cross-pool lanes, was really hoping it would be my day!

Spent the morning on a 10km walking tour of the National Mall, AKA the Washington DC tourist trail.

There is a heavy police presence around the Capitol Building; apparently, there is a police peace ceremony today with President Trump in attendance, start walking towards the Washington Monument in the centre of the park only to see a convoy of 40+ vehicles and the presidential beast-mobile.

Lots of buzz in the city today as the Washington Wizards play the Boston Celtics tonight in the NBA east coast playoffs - I watched the fantastic Golden State Warriors last night come back from 25 down to win in the last minutes of the game.

Need food before I hit the pool, find a sandwich shop selling hoagies… Being my first hoagie, went for a large which in the US is … XXXL! Not sure it’s sensible eating this much 30 minutes before a swim!

Uber drive over through an immaculate uptown neighbourhood with pristinely painted townhouses, each flying the stars and stripes. My driver has the windows down, playing some very chilled out soul classics, he’s setting the mood just right.

Arrive at the pool and walk through to elevated reception with huge floor to ceiling glass walls overlooking the pool – wow! The pool was perfect, set up with 50m lanes, busy but with decent pacey lanes and every facility you could wish for!

Stand at the reception desk for a few minutes, but there’s no sign of life! I ask a guy sitting on the sofas overlooking the pool, what the check-in policy is… he doesn’t know but points me down to the changing room, not ashamed to say, this was a free swim!

As I make my way out to the pool deck, the full wow factor hits, this pool has it all! The eight lanes are well signed, from aqua-jog, slow, medium, fast and … very fast! After a quick survey, I plumb for very fast! I join a triathlon looking guy and a woman wearing a full-body suit and fins!

So I start… Oh boy, it has been a long, long time since I trained in a 50-meter pool! I glance at my watch on the turn, 500 meters – My arms are drained and missing the momentary relief of a flip turn and push off the wall! As I move up and down the pool, I start to understand the bottom markers – and they only make things worse, I’m now counting down 10m increments to the walls!

Remember that hoagie? I do, every exhale is quickly followed by an attempt not to release turkey and watermelon radish into this impressive pool! I check the watch, 700m! My usual opening 1,000 is today going to be 800m, I need water and a 2-minute stationery breather!

Reach the wall, pull the goggles off and bring the breathing back under control. My arms and shoulders are burning! I’m joined in the lane by three George Washington University swim-teamers – things are about to get interesting! Tri-guy leaves the lane!

Set off on my net set, looping in and around the guys as they run through warm-up drills. Wetsuit lady now also takes the hint and leaves the lane.

These guys are fast! They’re doing 200’s on the clock, at this point I’m down to ’50s, waiting for a gap then all out, straight off the wall as the last guy turns, manage to (almost) keep pace over the length – but they’re doing 4 to my 1!

Strike up a conversation, they’re studying at GW State but from southern Germany, the black forest. They are training ahead of an International Championships next month in Berlin. Talking about swim times, they hit around 50 something seconds on a 100 freestyle.

Starting to feel furry, dry mouth, bromide pool, no amount of water will fix this, not a fan and generally prefer chlorine.

Take 5 minutes out to rest and refill my water bottle before completing another 1km to reach a total of 4km for the session.

I spy the hydrotherapy pool and waste no time soaking my aching shoulders under boiling hot jet!

Swim done, head back to downtown D.C. to find a sports bar to watch the Washington Wizards play the Boston Celtics!

Swim Stats

  • 4000 meters total swim
  • 1:25 pace / 100m
  • Garmin Swim Watch



This is an impressive, popular swim facility, used by multiple clubs and educational facilities from the D.C. area. Everything is sparkling clean and modern, with everything a great aquatic centre needs. Highly recommended pool to visit.

Pool Details

  • Length 50 meters
  • 8-lane pool
  • Indoor

Wilson Aquatic Center
4551 Fort Drive, NW, Washington, DC, USA

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