It's Big, It's New, and It's Fun
By Emily Yaghmour
Behind the information desk stands an army of top-of-the-line fitness equipment, from stationary bicycles with both upright and recumbent seating to treadmills, stair climbers, cross trainers, Cybex strength-training equipment, free weights, you name it. Hop on a bicycle or any of the other cardiovascular machines and monitor your heart rate while you work out. You can even watch a heart-shaped icon pulse with every beat of your heart. And don't dismay if you are baffled about a piece of equipment (do you lie down on it, straddle it, face this way, or that way?), at least one fitness instructor will always be on hand to help you figure it out. From the treadmill, you can look through the glass wall, down past the silver bleachers of the observation area into the turquoise water of the 50-meter Olympic-sized swimming pool. If you're lucky, there'll be a good lap swimmer directly below, and you can pass your time on the treadmill in a hypnotic trance, watching the swimmer go back and forth across the width of the pool.
Or let's say you want something a little less hard-core. Go to the opposite side of the fitness gallery and look down through another glass wall. Complete with volleyball net and basketball goal is a 25-yard pool designed for recreational swimming, lessons, and special classes. At a comfortable 85 degrees, it has an entry ramp for the very young, the disabled, or for those who like to enter a swimming pool one toe at a time. On the far side of the recreational pool is a steamy whirlpool¬just what you need after an invigorating workout. With a capacity of 14 persons, it's big enough for a party.
The Aquatic and Fitness Center officially opened on October 27, 1998, when two George Mason students plunged into the 50-meter pool to the applause of President Alan Merten and Mason students, faculty, and staff. Mickey McDade, associate athletic director for aquatics and recreational sports, calls the center "an exceptional facility that enables George Mason to host world-class swimming events, as well as a state-of-the-art recreational facility for the entire university community." He says the facility will provide "an evenly balanced program of recreation, instruction, and competitive activities."
If you live in the Washington area, come check it out and consider a membership. It's a cheerful place to work out--big, bright, and open. And, perhaps best of all, the locker room contains a little device that spins the water out of your swimsuit, so you don't have to take home sopping spandex. Now that's some useful technology.