Montclair Swim Club


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Archived Q&A and Reviews


April 2008

Anyone have recent info/feedback about the Hiller Swim Club or Montclair Swim Club? The most recent archived posts are out of date... thanks! Ellen

I swim daily at Montclair swim club. I love the water, and people are very friendly. The place is affordable and not fancy. You can often buy a membership on Craig's list. The big important down side: NO lifeguards. The ''staff'' there are not trained lifeguards. Several mishaps have occurred during the last 2 decades including the near drowning of a poorly supervised 3 year old. In this situation, the au pair not watching; she was non English speaking, and assumed the staff were watching the kids, even though there is no one on the pool deck.I was casually acquainted with the parents of this kid, and they were very stupid not to check this out, and very irresponsible to send the kid with a non-swimming au pair who was also watching a newborn. The club posts No Lifeguard on Duty and tells people when they join, so this is no big secret.

The emergencies, including an airway obstruction in an adult and the near drowning were handled well by other club members. If you have kids, you need to watch them like a hawk, which is important in any water situation, but especially when there is not back up. Also, during the summer hot days, the seven lap swimming lanes are often invaded by kids who are not managed/ supervised well by their parents or the pool staff. Non-lap swimmers are supposed to stay in the rec area. I actually injured my neck a few years ago when a kid jumped on me while I was swimming in a lap lane. I call it the summer anarchy. Other details: There is a funky hot tub, decent work out room, and a cold, musty locker room. Also the owner gets very nasty if you dare make a suggestion, like heating the locker room in the winter. In general, the club works very well for me. I gave up on being warm in the locker room and I avoid the owner. I watch out for kids on the hot day, and intervene myself if they are jumping into lanes. You can come visit and take a look. Try to come when Milan is there, he is a great staff person. Daily Swimmer

Last summer I had an astoundingly horrible experience at the Montclair Swim Club. As a long-time BPN member, I almost posted about it, but since someone has asked for updated information here goes. Last spring our family agreed to purchase a membership from an existing member who was moving. She and I reached an agreement, but had to obtain the approval of the Montclair Swim Club manager. So we met at the Club to finish the paperwork.

I am a parent with two children, a homeowner in Montclair with my partner. We have lived here for years, participate in local schools and sports clubs with the kids, and are lucky to have rewarding careers and excellent credit. This becomes relevant shortly...

The manager told me that if I bought the membership my partner/the kids' dad could not come to the Montclair Swim Club because we were not married. Not without me, not with me, but simply could not come at all. When I explained that we lived together in the same home and he was dad, he replied that we were not a family because we were not married. I suggested that my partner could pay a fee or in some other way join the kids; the manager pointed at the application and said loudly ''you are not a family.'' He said that they required a marriage certificate. (The swim club family information actually had a place for date and place of marriage.)

My daughter really wanted to swim all summer, so I filled out the application anyway with just me and my kids on it. Two days later I received a rejection letter two lines long and returned check, with no reason.

The woman who was trying to sell her membership to me was very upset at being unable to transfer her membership. She was present during my conversation with the manager and believed, as I do, that it was my ''unmarried'' status that caused us to be rejected. She called the manager twice, who said that she didn't know the whole story and then implied that there were mysterious financial reasons for the insant denial (a crock).

Since then, I learned from her and others that the management is unresponsive and difficult to deal with generally. When I looked at other facilities, they were more up to date, with a less concrete, boxed-in look, better gym facilities for the adults, and better food. I found a better place anyway.

Still, I was shaken and upset at what happened in my own neighborhood. While it need not affect your own decision, please know that this unpleasant, bizarre experience happened at the Montclair Swim club. It still bothers me a year later that I didn't do anything about it. (Esp. because I work at a senior level in the City of Oakland -- but this is a private swim club.)

More than my two cents. Appalled

May 2006

Is anyone a member of Montclair Swim Club who can give me some basic feedback? We are thinking about joining and would like to know how you like it there. I need somewhere to lap swim for exercise and I want a place to take my kids to swim during the summer. Is the children's pool kept warm enough? Is the staff friendly and helpful? Are children in the pool generally well- behaved and is the place kept up? (I know the lockerooms date back to the 40's). Besides this, it would be conveniently located for us but am interested to have any positive or negative feedback before we plunk down $1,500 to join. Thanks. anon

I frequented the montclair swim club about 5 years ago when my kid's best friend was a member there. I considered joining but did not for the following reasons.
The pool is shaded for most of the year, and on foggy days the deck was quite cold.
They did not have a designated life guard on duty, even during very busy times. The staff person who was on duty as a life guard also ran the snack bar and had other duties and only occasionally glanced at the pool. When asked about this, management replied that a life guard was not legally required, and that everyone 'swam at their own risk.'
The pool decks have concrete terraces about 3 to 4 feet high without barriers. I don't know how something like this passed building codes.
Between the lack of life guard and the design of the pool deck, I felt the club to be inherently unsafe.
The workout room has old, out-dated equipment.

We've been members of the club for several years, we live almost across the street and my kids spend hours there. It's not the Claremont, but the rates are a lot less. Take a look at the Hills, but it can get really windy and it\x92s hard to get to. We are happy satisfied with it. (Price, location, staff, price, swim team, and exercise equipment.) Doug

We are members of the Montclair Swim Club and I absolutely love it. However, I'm thinking of selling our membership for financial reasons since we've joined a country club and I think having both is too much. I like the club because it's easy to join, it's inexpensive with reasonable monthly dues, the people are friendly and not snobbish, and it's in such a beautiful setting in & amongst all the trees. I like the equipment in the has everything you need without being overwhelming like a Club One gym where I can never figure out what machine to use because there are too many of them. My 6-month old never had trouble getting in the infant pool or the children's pool...the temperature seemed comfortable for her. Howver, you are right about the locker rooms, they could use some help. I live close enough that I don't need to make use of them very often. I'm not sure if the club has any plans to remodel them any time soon since they just upgraded other aspects of the club. Michelle

Re: Seeking Oakland (or somewhat close) Swim Club (July 2003)
The Montclair Swin Club has lot of pool space: shallow, medium depth and deep for lap swimming but the down side is they do not have a life guard on duty. The say that their employees watch the pool while attending to other duties like the snack bar, etc. this to me (a fitness pro) is totally unacceptable. In addition, their equipment in the fitness room is very low quality and feels bad to use.