“Typically, you will never come to a practice and find it’s the same,” says Noura Hemady, a spokesperson for the District of Columbia Aquatics Club, the region’s main LGBT swimming organization. “It’s always different.”
DCAC meets seven days a week at three different locations in the summer (and five in the winter), offering D.C. residents the opportunity to dive into the world of competitive swimming. At each hour-and-a-half-long practice, members are provided with special group workouts tailored to their individual ability level and goals, whether that includes losing weight and getting in shape, fixing their stroke technique, or preparing for major competitions — from triathlons to the Gay Games.
Daily attendance is not mandatory, and new members are always welcome to join, though it’s recommended they speak with one of DCAC’s coaches so that they can be placed in the correct workout lane, alongside others with similar abilities. Club members must pay $45 to join U.S. Masters Swimming, the sport’s governing body, $45 for DCAC fees, and pool fees, which cost $500 a year (only available in January or February), $150 a quarter, $60 a month or $10 per practice. Financial assistance is also available to those who need it.
Of course, those who join don’t need to commit to competitive racing.
“There are some members who don’t even swim with us,” she says. “Either they just want to be part of the team, more broadly, or they come for the social aspect.”
DCAC currently meets at Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren St. NW) on Tuesday and Thursday; Dunbar Aquatic Center (101 N St. NW) on Wednesday; and East Potomac Pool at Hains Point (927 Ohio Dr. SW) on Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit swimdcac.org.
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