The temperature was balmy and the water just right inside the pool at the Women’s Club on Thursday morning, as instructor Brooke Florence took almost 30 ladies through exercises during the Joint Mobility Plus class.
Participants were swimming in the same pool as in previous classes, but it had an all-new feel.
The all-women’s health club recently installed equipment to remove chlorine from the pool and installed a Salt Pure system.
Last week, the club introduced members to its new saltwater pool.
“It’s just a little less salty than the ocean. If you tasted it, you’d taste salt,” said Camie Evans, club general manager.
Replacing chlorine has a host of health benefits, Evans said.
It creates less irritation to eyes, skin and hair. The saltwater is also not as harsh on bathing suits.
It also gets rid of the chlorine smell.
“It really makes a difference,” Evans said. “It’s getting people back into the pool.”
Missoula City-County Health Department records show only one other saltwater pool is operating in Missoula, at the Stone Creek Lodge.
Women’s Club managers looked into installing a saltwater system several years ago, but didn’t have enough space to store the necessary equipment and piping.
When they checked back this year, technology had advanced enough to shrink the size of the system, which breaks down salt into chlorine. The chlorine is confined to a “salt cell,” where pool water is sanitized as it passes through.
“There’s not that lingering chlorine byproduct,” Evans said.
Installing a saltwater pool also means the club doesn’t have to store as many chemicals on site.
The club’s pool and hot tub are now approved as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified environmentally conscious system.
“We’ve always talked about how to be a little more green, more responsible. And make it a little more accessible for people to use,” Evans said.
Women in the joint mobility class were immediate fans of the new pool. Most hadn’t used a saltwater pool before.
“It feels smooth and lighter,” Jackie Kinch said. “It makes your skin feel silky.”
Mary McCall also appreciated the feel of the water, and the fact it won’t be so hard on her swimsuits.
“It’s glorious,” McCall said.
The Women’s Club, at 2105 Bow St., holds about 25 classes a week in its pool. Along with the joint mobility class, there are prenatal workout classes and more intense cardiovascular classes.
With the exception of one small area, the pool is not deeper than 4 feet, 6 inches.
“We designed it for classes,” Evans said.
The pool classes are free to members, but punch cards are available for guests.
The Women’s Club is one of a few all-women health facilities in the area. It has 1,750 members and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.