Pool crush: Cactus Aquatic Center
Here's how much I love Cactus Aquatic Center in Scottsdale, Arizona ...
... after living in the Valley of the Sun for 7 years, when my wife and I had the need/opportunity to move, I strategically planned our weekend open house tours within a very tight radius of this community gem on the edge of the Scottsdale/Phoenix. We ended up a mere one mile from this pool that became the center of our children's lives for the next decade (and still going).
I had discovered this 50 meter and 25 yard pool sometime after getting back into swimming in the 2001 time period, but didn't really come to appreciate all this facility and swimming community had to offer until we moved nearby in 2004:
As a lap swimmer, you will be hard pressed to find a better value for your money
Generous lap hours
Up to 23 lanes available - meaning you almost always have your own lane
Multiple digital pace clocks all around the facility
Boxes of kickboards, pull buoys and even some fins
Cheap entry fees, especially for residents who purchase a multi-use pass
At selected times of the years, the pool is setup for long course
Even with all of the lap swimming availability, the City of Scottsdale runs an impressive number of community learn-to-swim programs
Two great youth aquatics programs - Scottsdale Aquatic Club for competitive swimming and Clavadistas del Sol for diving - along with an outpost of the Swim Devils Masters for morning and midday practices
... and, as I learned with my older two daughters (and, hopefully, someday my youngest) becoming City of Scottsdale lifeguards, one of the most professionally run aquatics programs in the country.
Yeah, there might be faster pools for racing or better pools for watching a swim meet, but if you're looking for a great place to train year-round, this is the pool for you.