CRESTVIEW — Central Baptist Church offers an alternative to traveling long distances for recreational water fun.

CRESTVIEW — Central Baptist Church offers an alternative to traveling long distances for recreational water fun.

Crestview has no municipal pool, but the Recreational Outreach Center’s community pool — available to the public the past two years — is gaining popularity, ROC Director Dana Young said.

“It’s grown this year,” she said. “At any given time, we have around 20 to 30 (at the pool).” The pool, which Young said has a 56-person capacity, is open to the community Monday through Saturday.

Most guests are mothers who bring their children to the pool, Young said. However, military personnel regularly use the pool for exercise during lane swim time.

Shawn Jones and his Crestview family on multiple occasions have visited the ROC, rather than trek to public beaches on the county’s south end.

“It’s way better than the backyard hose,” he said. “It’s a great alternative to Destin traffic. It’s a great atmosphere to come to during community swim time.”

The ROC offers twice weekly water fitness classes taught by certified fitness instructor Dara Smith.

Her Tuesday and Thursday classes attract 20 to 30 participants.

“Basically, everything you do on the land you can do in the water,” Smith said. “It’s a nice change because you are sweating in the water, but you don’t realize how hot and sweaty you are. Because of that, she advises participants to bring plenty of liquids. The pool has an on-duty lifeguard during community swim hours — just in case, Young said. The facility features a fitness room with weight lifting equipment, basketball courts and a soon to be reopened racquetball court. ROC staffers are installing wheelchair accessible seating to allow those with special needs to enjoy the pool.

Such amenities are available to — and often are used by — non-church members, Young said.

“Most of the time, the only people with the church are the (ROC) staff,” she said.

What: Public swimming
When: Various times, Monday through Saturday (see swimming schedule; must have Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Where: Central Baptist Church’s Recreational Outreach Center, 1105 S. Pearl St.
Cost: Day pass, $2 per person; monthly pass, $25 per person; family monthly pass, $50

Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.