Sheila recently joined the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco’s Aquatic Park and she invited us over for a swim there this afternoon. It’s a remarkable place in many ways. First: the location. It sits directly on the beach, next door to its sister (rival?) swimming club, the Dolphin club, in the heart of one of the most touristy places in the world. Hyde St. Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square; it’s all right there, crowded with people smiling into their selfie sticks. One minute you feel like you’re on an elementary school field trip and the next, you are inside the quiet of wood-paneled walls adorned with pictures and plaques telling of SERC’s storied past. Which is another remarkable thing about the club: Founded in 1873, there is so much fascinating history here. I could have spent all day reading the stories on these walls.
But, eventually, we tore ourselves away, went up to the changing rooms to strip down to our suits and ditch our stuff and then walked out the back door to this beautiful beach and into the water.
The incredible access to the water is the best part of the club. While we were there, people continually streamed into the water for a swim and then back into the club to shower off and warm up. I was lamenting that I didn’t know about this place back when I lived in San Francisco, but then I would never have dreamed of swimming in the San Francisco Bay back then!