The first person at Chattahoochee Gold Swim to exemplify the attributes of determination and tenacity so highly valued by coach Pat Murphy, the club's founder, was not a swimmer, nor did the character-defining event occur near the water. The person in question was a hard-working landscaper, who—though he had only one arm—approached his work with an unbridled passion that coach Murphy couldn’t help but admire. Keeping the landscaper ever in his mind, Pat—with the help of his team of coaches and instructors—strives to impart a similar sense of commitment, integrity, and inspiration in swimmers of all ages via a host of lessons, programs, and swim meets.
Throughout the year, the crew of coaches can be found in the pool and on the deck helming fun and educational lessons for students of all levels. The introductory parent-tot program teaches first-time swimmers the basics of water safety, and the swim league grants kids the opportunity to meet for weekly practices in a noncompetitive environment, free of the middive thumb wars often associated with competitive programs. Along with lessons and classes, Chattahoochee Gold Swim offers fitness programs, such as water aerobics, to help participants streamline their physiques.
The multiple YMCA locations in metropolitan Chattanooga serve more than 37,000 members a year and fulfill the mission of uniting guests regardless of gender, age, faith, background, abilities, or income. Founded in London in 1844, the YMCA spread to its Chattanooga home in 1871 and continues to operate with help from local community volunteers as stalwart as I Love Lucy syndicators. Each location caters to the needs of children, teens, seniors, and families with afterschool programs and fitness-based activities. Cardio machines pump hearts, racquetball courts host fun competitions, and pools allow goggles to fulfill their original purpose: snapping the face with their elastic band to make a diver jump off the blocks faster. A sauna and steam room heat clients up after they cool down in the pools, and parents can drop their young children off at the nursery before participating in group fitness classes.
Leisure Time Dive & Ski Center helps adventurists plunge to new depths and soar down mountainsides at supersonic speeds. The facility stocks an extensive supply of scuba gear and skiing equipment, and makes items from both departments available to purchase or rent. Divers wanting to improve their craft can participate in a variety of different educational lessons, from a rescue diver course to the open-water training classes needed for PADI certification. Leisure Time also doubles as a full-service travel agency, and assists clients in planning exotic scuba diving and skiing vacations.
Whether, certifying scuba divers or teaching kids how to swim, Choo Choo Diving and Aquatic Center's small class sizes ensure students get the most out of their courses. Inexperienced divers enroll in the discover scuba class, and more advanced divers can get certifications to become open-water instructors. Meanwhile, at the swim school, kids as young as 6 months old splash in the pool with their parents, whereas older children are separated by age and experience level.
Fort Sanders Health & Fitness Center offers a fun alternative to sitting on the couch and watching a movie: floating in an inner tube and watching a movie. Every year, the gym's heated outdoor pool turns into a "dive-in" theater, where families can lounge on the deck or in the water as a film plays on an inflatable screen.
Of course, the center advocates for more vigorous workouts, too. It has an indoor track, cardio machines, and free weights for visitors of all ages and abilities. Group fitness classes are available throughout the week, from Pilates and yoga to Les Mills BodyPump. Instructors also lead youth programs in tennis, aquatics, and martial arts, keeping kids active and primed for the triathlon portion of family reunions.
Behind its simple name and unassuming façade, Adventure Scuba Diving conceals a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center. Inside, students learn to swim underwater from a dozen diving instructors and divemasters, including Mike Goss, who has the highest training certification available in the PADI system. As a course director, Paul does more than teach first-time students, though he still loves to pop into an Open Water–certification class now and then. He spends most of his time training future trainers, and making sure his fellow instructors make good decisions on their dive trips.