The Clog’s power ranking of Berkeley Rec Sports swimming pools

Sunny Shen/Staff

As summer heats up, you might find yourself itching for a swim. Whether you’re looking to get some laps in or to just relax poolside, Berkeley Rec Sports has a pool for you. Overwhelmed by your options? Here’s the Clog’s power ranking of the Rec Sports swimming pools to help you decide.

  1. Hearst North Pool

The North Pool in Hearst Gym feels luxurious. While you’re there, it’s easy to forget that just below you, the hustle and bustle of campus continues as usual. This pool gives off Grecian vibes, with a marble-tiled deck as well as ornate statues and columns decorating its perimeter. However, the pool is quite small, with only four lanes, so on warm days, you might opt for a pool with greater capacity.

  1. Spieker Pool

Spieker Pool, nestled just inside the Recreational Sports Facility, is often dominated by swim meets and water polo matches. However, this state-of-the-art facility opens up its 18 lanes to the public for lap swimming during certain hours each day. It’s perfect for those looking to get some exercise, and it allows you to challenge yourself by swimming laps in the very same pool that collegiate athletes do. Spieker is beautiful and conveniently located, but beware if you’re shy: A big window grants onlookers from the RSF a clear visual of the pool all throughout the day. 

  1. Golden Bear Pool

You’ll have to trek up the hill a bit to get to this pool, situated behind Clark Kerr Campus. The hike is certainly worth the experience, though. Surrounded by the greenery of the fire trails, you might feel completely removed from the campus stress at this pool. With six lanes, the Golden Bear Recreation Center pool is a little bigger than Hearst Gym’s and a little less intense than Spieker. The pool allows swimmers of all ages to enjoy lap swimming hours, so don’t be surprised if some families with younger kids join you. 

  1. Strawberry Canyon Pool

Without a doubt, the best pool Berkeley Rec Sports has to offer is at Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area. Located just east of Memorial Stadium, this pool is also surrounded by the natural beauty of the Berkeley fire trails. It features six lanes for lap swimming, and it’s also the only Rec Sports pool that reserves space just for play. Lounge on one of its grassy lawns, swim a few laps or release your inner child with a game of chicken or colors. Strawberry Canyon Pool is comfortable and exciting at the same time, warranting its first-place spot in our power ranking.

Next time you’re looking for a perfect summer activity, check out one of these pools. And remember, your Cal 1 Card will grant you access to any of these pools absolutely free of charge. Berkeley Rec Sports offers pools to everyone. So enjoy them, whether you’re in for laps or just a float.

Contact Margo Salah at [email protected].