Dear PoPville – What’s Going on with the Washington Sports Club Pool in Columbia Heights


“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering if you might have any information about what’s going on with the Washington Sports Club Columbia Heights pool. It was closed for a couple of days last week and the person at the front desk that I called today said that it looked like it would be closed all of this week too. She said that the closure was directed by the corporate office, but won’t say why. The lack of explanation is a little concerning.”

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  • That is concerning. Last week, the water was so clouded that I couldn’t see two feet in front of me. They told me that last week’s closure was to fix the cloudiness. When it reopened, the water was fine. Then, on Monday, the guy at the front desk said something about it being closed for an inspection.

  • This is so frustrating! The backstroke flags were missing from one end for weeks (seriously, how long does it take to order some new fucking flags?), then one of the lane lines broke, then the pool was super cloudy. I pretty much only go their to swim so I’m paying $80 a month for nothing.

    • Damn it. There.

    • Save your money and go instead to the Takoma Aquatic Center – is free for DC residents.

      • Maybe some people have time to travel from Columbia Heights to Takoma or Tenleytown to swim, but I don’t. I pay for WSC because it’s a block from me, and I can fit swimming into my tight schedule.

    • Do what I did, learn to swim without having to look at flags. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it.

    • This gym has become intolerable for many reasons. It is dirty all the time. There is a constant skunk-fungus funk-stink in the men’s locker room. There is mold in the showers all the time. Fully half of the showers don’t work properly — they just dribble out water, if at all.

      Critical weight/cable attachments have disappeared for months — I suspect they are being horded somewhere by personal trainers for their own use. It has been years since there have been sufficient weight collars, causing danger of weights slipping off and causing serious injury. The cleaning staff try but they are always vacuuming around your feet/under your bench when you lift — again causing risk of severe injury. The benches are broken, bent, and twisted forcing you to contort your back and hips into strange and dangerous positions to lift. At peak times it is so crowded that you constantly have other people’s elbows and other parts inches from your face as you’re trying to lift — again, dangerous.

      The constant hard sell for new members has brought in a large number of members who seem incapable of returning equipment to its place when they are done — often fully 3/4 of the dumbbells are missing from the racks and just strewn about the floor in random spots, perfect for trip and fall injuries. It seems to be the same crowd who 1) attempt to monopolize one **or several pieces of equipment at once** so they can do supersets for an hour straight, and/or 2) tare constantly **taking their shirts off to take photos of themselves and their semi-naked friends*** in the mirrors — disgusting.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      • as a girl who wants to use the (admittedly, smaller) free weights with some of the apparatus there (not a true gym goer, just had someone who did show me exercises) it’s so SO frustrating to try to use anything when everything’s being monopolized for HOURS (hi squat machine) but giant dudes who … aren’t necessarily leering, but certainly aren’t minding their own beeswax.

        Secondly, if you work out as much as these dudes do, don’t use the squat machine for like 9 hours. I’m not an experienced free weight user and using the squat machine helps me make sure I’m using a correct form and not going to hurt myself.


      • +1,000. Absolutely terrible gym, all around.

    • #FirstWorldProblems #WhiteWhine

  • There are free pools in DC:{%277%27.EX.%27Aquatic%20Center%27}

    The Tenleytown one is amazing.

  • I share your pain. I joined to swim 3 times a week. I got in last week, then poof, the pool closed.

    I’ve resorted to call every day to see if the pool’s open. I guess I’m stuck going to fitness classes and using the regular gym equipment.

    As for close free pool options, Marie Reed in AdMo has a free pool for DC residents.

  • I’m afraid I’m partially responsible but I’m glad that it’s closed and they’re fixing it. Here’s why I think I’m partially to blame (or maybe it’s credit). Two weeks ago (I was traveling for work all of last week), I went for a swim. I had to stop after 200 yards (I normally swim about a mile) for three reasons: 1) The water smelled bad, 2) I could barely see two body lengths ahead of me, and 3) my skin started to tingle. I’m pregnant and swimming is my exercise…anyway, I showered, went to the manager and shared my experience and concern.

    All this to say, I hope they fix it quickly and that we can all get back to our routines, minus the smelly water, the visibility issues, and the obvious imbalance in whatever they put in there that made the skin feel weird.

    • So sorry to hear that the water did that to you. I thought the cloudiness was really weird, but I didn’t notice any tingling or even any odd odor or flavor to the water. Anyway, I too hope that they fix this really soon. They seemed to have the cloudiness under control last week.

      • A pregnant woman’s sense of smell is like a bloodhound’s. Seriously, anytime she says she smells something and you don’t, it’s because you can’t and she can.

        • Thanks Kenyon Dweller and anon. Yes, my pregnant sense of smell is exactly like I would expect a bloodhound’s to be. Though in the male manager’s defense, when he took me back, he said he could smell it too. He added: “If I can smell it and your sense of smell is like my wife’s when she’s pregnant, it must really bother you.” I said yes, it really does…

          • Really I wasn’t trying to say that the smell didn’t exist, just that I didn’t smell it. They did seem to resolve it last week, so I’m just not sure that this closure is related.

        • “…it’s because you can’t and she can.” LOL! So true. My husband was routinely creeped out by that particular super power. “Did you eat cornbread today?” “Um, yes… seven hours ago. HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT????”

  • The area of U st, Pleasant Plains, Park View, Columbia Heights, and lower Petworth (only splitting Petworth because of the Takoma pool) is really missing a free indoor pool. The Takoma public pool is far, and the Marie Reed one is far from most of those listed neighborhoods, tiny, with very restrictive hours, and even more restrictive hours to take small children into the water rather than line-swim, if that’s a word.

  • The next gym that opens in Columbia Heights will have a license to print money! (Balance Gym, are you listening?)

  • Bilharzia outbreak! Only joking…..

  • What about Petworth!!! We need a gym here too!

  • I’ve heard good things about the pool at the new YMCA ay 14th and W, but I haven’t used it myself.

  • There’s also a brand new public pool that opened at Dunbar High in January, near the Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood. It’s clean and barely used!

  • OMG, this post makes me so happy I quit that gym and joined Vida two years ago…

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