Come the start of the competitive swim season this winter, area high school teams, including that of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, will have one more option in what has become a shallow pool of practice resources.
That is, if construction plans at the NJRC Aquatic & Fitness Center stay on track for a September opening. Right now the warehouse-like building, in a flex space complex on Shafto Road in Tinton Falls, is devoid of any signs of it's future use, most notably a pool.
But owner Pete Nagle of Little Silver isn't worried. "What you think is the most complex part of the project will be the easiest," he said.
In the next couple of months Nagle expects the aquatic and fitness center, which he plans to launch with co-owner Andreas Roestenberg of Wall, to quickly fill with spaces for physical therapy and group exercise classes, locker rooms, exercise equipment, and most important, an eight-lane pool.
This 25-yard pool will be shaped like a flag to include three longer lanes that run 50 meters to make an Olympic practice space.
Nagle said the pool will share something else in common with the Olympics. When swim trials for this summer's games are held in Omaha, NE this week, swimmers will dive into indoor, above ground pools like the one planned for the NJRC Aquatic & Fitness Center. Only the pools will appear in ground because of raised decking that surrounds them. Once the trials are over, the pools will be dismantled.
According to Nagle, construction of the Skypool, as it is called, will only take a couple of weeks. The rest of the $3 million project will take some more doing. Here's a peek at what a Skypool looks like.
The facility will contain an additional smaller pool for physical therapy and swim lessons, a large exercise machine area, plus sections for TRX and free weight training. Upstairs will be a mezzanine that overlooks the pool and rooms for group classes in yoga, spin and Zumba among other workouts. There will also be room for a juice bar and childcare. You can view the floor plans here.
Roestenberg and Nagle came to the fitness center idea through their primary focus, swimming. Together the two former competitive swimmers run New Jersey Race Club (NJRC) a competitive club swim team that they started four years ago. Roestenberg, a former Olympic trial qualifier, is head coach.
"As soon as we started the team," Nagle said, "we knew we needed our own pool." But rather than build a pool on the backs of their team and its swim parents Engle said they followed an industry model which says, create a public fitness center where your team can practice rather than a stand alone pool. The pair's own team, NJRC, will be a customer of the aquatic center.
Many schools, few pools
Scheduling swim practices and meets has been historically problematic in Monmouth County where pool time is at a premium. And it got harder last year when the available pools shrank precipitously with the closing of both Fort Monmouth and the Jewish Community Center in Deal.
Though Fort Monmouth's pool and fitness center is operational, it isn't likely that it will be available to teams for some time. Redevelopment representative Rick Harrison told Patch that there has been a lot of interest in the fitness center from schools and club teams like the Monmouth Barracudas.
The problem is that Army still owns the property and doesn't plan to transfer it for sale until Phase II of redevelopment, which is at least a year away. Harrison said that redevelopers are hoping to get the Army to grant an interim lease on the "turn key" facility.
Those closings left teams like Monmouth Regional and Red Bank Regional in a lurch. When Patch reported about the problem in January, Rumson-Fair Haven, RBR and Ocean high schools were all shut out of the JCC mid-season. RFH had to take a weekend practice schedule at Monmouth University.
Now those two teams, plus Monmouth Regional, Holmdel, St. Rose, Howell and Colts Neck high schools have all sent letters of intent to NJRC Aquatic for the upcoming season. And Engle said he and Roestenberg are intent on welcoming them.
"Our number one priority is to have it open by September," Nagle told Patch.
Something for everyone
To accommodate, the diverse needs of physical therapy patients, swim teams and fitness club members, Nagle said the aquatic center would have separate entrances and locker rooms for teams and club members. So when a high school team rolls in during the afternoon or evening, adult members won't be sharing a locker or a shower with a busload of teenagers.
"We designed what we as consumers, swimmers and fitness people would like," Engle said adding the goal was to make a center fit for the general public and the ultra fitness enthusiast, without a country club feel.
And priced he said, at two thirds the cost of the Atlantic Club and close to the rates of the Community YMCA in Red Bank, but with a higher level of programming. Nagle said there are no contracts or initiation fees.
Here are the current monthly rates:
- $75/single ($65 during pre-sale)
- $85/couple ($75 during pre-sale)
- $99/family ($85 during pre-sale)
Barry Armond, also of Little Silver, is sales manager for the aquatic center. He said the company will offer corporate discounts like the one it is giving employees of NJ Natural Gas, which is located just down the road.
Admittedly the site is in the middle of nowhere, on a stretch of Shafto Road between Route 33 and Asbury Avenue, but Nagle said it's actually centrally located for all the high schools who will make it their home, and he said, only eight miles and 16 minutes from his home in Little Silver.
For more information about the aquatic and fitness center visit its Web site. The center is also hiring personal trainers and class instructors. To apply, call 732- 995-9285.