We think Austin has some of the best places in the world to swim (musician Loudon Wainwright agrees). Here are some of our favorites!
Barton Springs: The heart and soul of Austin! Spring fed, more than 200 meters from one end to the other -- perfect open water practice for beginners and experienced triathletes, alike! Best enjoyed in the morning, especially in summer. Water temperature is always ~ 68 degrees. In winter, plenty of triathletes don wetsuits, but many do not. Admission is $3 for residents and $8 for non-residents. Lifeguards on duty from 8 AM to 9 pm. Free swim-at-your-own-risk from 5 AM to 8 AM and from 9 PM to 10 PM. Also free October through February. Closed Thursdays for cleaning and after a heavy rain. The Springs is located in Zilker Park, just south of the River.
Deep Eddy Pool: A favorite of local swimmers and triathletes. Spring fed lap lanes, slightly warmer than Barton Springs. The pool overlooks the Colorado River and is a short stroll from the Hike and Bike Trail at Ladybird Lake. Each pool length is 33 1/3 yards, so 53 lengths make a mile. Even when the pool is at its busiest, you usually only need to wait a few minutes to find a spot in a split or circle-swim lane. There is also a recreational pool for non-lap swimmers. Like Barton Springs, Deep Eddy has changing rooms, showers, and water fountains. The pool is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM, and lifeguards are always on duty. The same fees apply as Barton Springs.
Quarry Lake at Pure Austin: This North Austin jewel provides excellent open water swimming opportunities, from solo practice to race swims. A full loop of the lake is 750 meters. The lake is surrounded by a 1K dirt running trail, making it the perfect place for a brick workout. The folks at Pure Austin Fitness (ranked in 2014 as the best gym in the country) host swim events throughout the summer, including the popular Open Water Swim Series and Splash 'n' Dash Series. Race fees run around $20. Quarry Lake is available for public use if you purchase a day pass with the gym (around $25). Located at 4210 West Braker Lane.