My Favorite Places to Swim Laps in New York City + Plus Size Bathing Suits | Fitness


Hi CeCe,

I noticed that you’ve done a few posts here and pics on instagram with you swimming. Would you be interested in writing about pools in NYC?


Hey Brandi,

Sure! I love swimming and I highly recommend it as a form of exercise for Plus Size Princesses because its an intense workout that is low impact. Meaning, you’ll burn a lot of calories without pounding your knees and other joints.

Here are my favorite places to swim laps in NYC, there’s something for every budget, from Free to Fancy! (Prices are based on what I paid, call for current rates).

Swimming Plus Size Fitness


I get my Plus Size Swimsuits for Workouts Here


The NYC pools have designated lap swims in the summer at their pools. There are NYC public pools in every neighborhood, so you don’t have to travel far. The lap swim program begins July 7 – August 29, Monday through Friday

Early Bird – 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. (July and August)
Night Owl – 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (July) and 8:15 p.m. (August)

Things I love: When I lived in Harlem, my favorite pool was in Marcus Garvey park. It was nice to swim outdoors and in a long pool so I could work on my endurance.

Things I hate: The public pools are open during the day to (mostly) kids who are out of school and trying to cool off. So, jumping into a pool that’s been full of kids all day wasn’t my favorite. There were lost braids in the pool, candy wrappers and the water wasn’t as clear as I’d prefer– but its free, so… *shrugs*


Bally Sports Club

Not to be confused with Bally Total Fitness, in NYC on 32nd and 50th street, there are upgraded Bally’s. These locations have pools. If you join a Bally Sports club you can go to a total fitness, but it doesn’t work the other way around, so be mindful of where you join.

The pools aren’t lap pools by any means, but they get the job done and there’s a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room (all co-ed).

Things I love: The location was easy for me when I worked in midtown and the water was clearer than the free pools

Things I hate: The pool is next to a big window where people can watch from the gym floor. I don’t like people seeing me half naked when they’re fully clothed on a treadmill, that’s just not fair… *shrugs*


New York Sports Club

The NYSC on 91/3rd and 49/Broadway both have pools. The pools are on the short side, but they’re clean, well managed and there isn’t too much of a wait. The 49th and Bway location has a skylight which gives an outdoor feel and they take reservations.

Things I love: The steam room is located in the locker room, so its women only.

Things I hate: The pool on 49th is shared with a hotel, so sometimes tourists will watch you swim laps… awk.



Let me start by saying the YMCA’s in NYC are more fancy than what I remember from my California childhood. These gyms are NICE! They have indoor lap pools, steam rooms, sauna’s as well as other gym classes. During the summer you can get a full summer membership to any YMCA for $200 flat and its a great way to try out if you like the facilities or not.

Things I love: They have a “calm waters” schedule that tells you when the most lanes will be open.

Things I hate: The shower heads are really harsh– it’s the one thing that does remind me of my childhood YMCA camp summers. Also, I saw a woman with her shower curtain open, shaving her bikini area while holding a conversation with another woman across the locker room, I thought that was kinda much, but… *shrugs*

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  • ebofierce

    ROTFLOL @ the shaving in a public bathroom bandit! LOL LOL

    • CeCe Olisa

      in my head, I was like… MA’AM???????

  • Thickness Tees

    Heyyy…I’m a Y camp veteran too! :-)

    • CeCe Olisa

      YES! Represent!!!

  • Bee.

    Hey CeCe! Love this post — your honesty is always amazing. I don’t know how to swim but I want to learn. Any suggestions on where to start?

    • thebiggirlblog

      Where do you live? xx

      • Bee.

        Brooklyn, New York

        • Nashira

          The Dodge YMCA on Atlantic has a nice pool and adult lessons. Membership is pricey, but I was to find out I qualified for a discount rate.

          • Sheila

            I took adult lessons at Dodge — it was great. I knew the basics but hadn’t swum in awhile and wanted to brush up. I’d definitely recommend. Rates are cheaper if you are a member. The pool is warm. The locker rooms could be a little cleaner, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time there.

  • Curvily NYC

    This is fantastic – I had no idea about the free lap swimming program!!! I just signed up, and I am going to try to do the early bird time slot to avoid a kid-debris filled pool :)

    • CeCe Olisa

      Awwwww YAY!!!! xx

  • Brandi Copher

    Thanks for the reply, CeCe. I belong to NYSC and used to use the pool on 49th St a lot. I just wish it was longer. I use the summer pools last year and signed up again this year. Also, for anyone looking to take lessons, the McBurney Y on 14th St is awesome! Great pool, steam room, sauna, spacious facilities. Thankfully I haven’t seen the shaving lady there. eek! I really improved my swimming there. Also, Riverbank State Park has an olympic sized pool overlooking the Hudson. Their lessons are small and inexpensive.
    I hope to see some of you ladies in the pool!

  • Deena

    I belong to our local Y, and swim 5-6 days a week. I really like it. The kids can be a PITA at the local outdoor pool, so I try to go during the dinner hour when it’s less crowded.
    There are a few women at the locker room at the Y continually surprise me with their comfort with nudity. If you want to change, great. But you don’t need to jam out with your clam out for all to see.

  • Emily @ Tips on Healthy Living

    Great post. For anyone near North Brooklyn, I highly recommend those early/late adult-only hours at McCarren Park pool. It is very clean–the city gut renovated it a few years ago. During the day, it’s full of kids. But you can sign up and use it for free during those adult-only hours, and it is really nice. So wonderful on a hot day.

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  • Britte416

    So late and maybe you’ve already covered this but…HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR HAIR??/What do you do with/to your hair? I’m natural as well (not loc’d…yet?) and that often keeps me away from the swimming laps. I used to teach swimming at the YMCA and love it, but the thought of hair maintenance is heavy on my mind :/

  • MilaXX

    I like the Krinkle suits for those who spend a lot of time in the water. I take water aerobics anywhere from 4 – 6 days a week. Even the chlorine resistant suits tend to wear thin at that rate, but the krinkle suit in my experience hold up a lot longer. They also have really good built in bras for those of us with fuller breast.