Blue Ridge Swim Club: 100 years of splashing, swimming and sunning

Want to time travel? You don't need a flux capacitor, you don't need a degree in physics, and you don't need to resurrect Albert Einstein to ask him how to do it. You just need a swimsuit and way to get yourself out to Ivy, where the Blue Ridge Swim Club is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this summer.

The 100-foot long spring-fed pool has been cooling local swimmers since it opened in 1913, constructed by local businessman R. Warner Wood with help from a Panama Canal engineer. According to current owner Todd Barnett, who bought the swim club in 2011, in its earliest days, the pool was the centerpiece of Camp Blue Ridge, a turn-of-the-century regional boarding camp that sprung out of the popularity of Olympic swimming. It was passed through several owners who ran it as a public pool from 1919 to 1944 and as a private club from '44 to '66, when its members took it over.

In 2011, Barnett, founder of both the all boys Field School in Crozet and the coed Field Camp, purchased the Swim Club and relocated the summer camp to the 11-acre property on Owensville Road. The pool and the property have remained rustic– no frog shaped slides, no spray garden– just a long, cool, chemical-free pool shaded by trees, with Adirondack chairs, and grassy areas for kids to play.

"That's the charm of the pool," says Barnett. "It's like a trip back in time."

If Ivy's too much of a trek– or you prefer a more modern swimming experience, there are plenty of other swimming options. Here are a few other places to chill...

City of Charlottesville:

Fry's Spring Beach Club: Charlottesville's other historic swim club, the Fry's Spring Beach Club on Jefferson Park Avenue dates to the 1920s and features basketball courts and a modern pool. 296-4181

Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center,
Buford Middle School, 1000-A Cherry Avenue. Slides and a lazy river; diving board and lap lanes. Open varying hours seven days. 970-3072

Onesty Pool at Meade Park, 300 Meade Avenue. Mid-June to Labor Day, lap and rec swim, diving board, slides, and lazy river available. Open 10:30am-8pm Monday-Friday (closes early Wed. for a farmer's market), 10am-8pm Saturday, 10am-7pm Sunday.  295-7532
Washington Park Pool, 1001 Preston Avenue. Mid-June-Labor Day, lap/rec swim available.Weekdays 11am-6pm. Saturdays 10am-5pm, Sundays 11am-5pm.977-2607

Spray Grounds

Forest Hills: Forest Hills Drive. Open daily 10am-8pm

Greenleaf: Rose Hill Drive. Open daily 10am-8pm

Belmont: Rialto Street. Open daily 10am-8pm

Albemarle County swimming holes
Swimming at Chris Green Lake, Walnut Creek, and Mint Springs Valley Park from Memorial Day to August 22. Daily 11am-7pm; County residents: $3 adults, $2 children. Non-county residents: $4.50 adults, $3 children.

Season passes:

Residents: $100 family package, $50 adults, $30 children.

Season passes: $150 family, $75 adults, $45 children.

Call 296-5844 for more information.

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