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MAKE A SPLASH

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As the summer heats up, cool off for free at city beaches, open since May 28, and in city pools, which opened June 25.

And if you haven’t been in recent years, some beaches have received a makeover. The Coney Island beach, for example, now has new cast-iron light poles, volleyball courts, comfort stations and performance pavilions.

In addition to the beach at Coney Island - between the Riegelmann Boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean, from West 37th Street to Ocean Parkway, one can swim at the adjacent Brighton Beach, from Ocean Parkway to West End Avenue, and the easternmost beach on the strip, Manhattan Beach, located south of Oriental Boulevard from West End Avenue to Seawall Avenue. Activities at the various beaches include relaxing on the sand, of course, and canoeing, kayaking, tennis, basketball and swimming.

Beaches are open daily from 10 am to 6 pm until Labor Day.

The New York City Parks Department will offer a number of free swimming programs at city pools this summer. These include a "Learn to Swim" program for children that are new to the waters, a swim team tournament for more experienced children and teenagers, reserved lap swim times for adults, and other special activities for senior citizens.

The adult reserved lap times include the "Early Bird Program," which is from 7 am to 8:30 am at the Red Hook and Sunset Park pools from now through Aug. 12.

The "Learn to Swim" program divides children into two groups: ages 1 1/2 to 5 years and ages 6 to 14. The program aims to teach children basic swimming and water safety skills. This year, there’s one three-week session left (July 26-Aug. 12); registration will be on site July 25, from 9:15 am­10:30 am.

There will also be times to swim on your own without lessons. With the summer heating up fast, take advantage of the outdoor pools in Brooklyn. These include the Commodore Barry Pool, (in Commodore Barry Park, between Flushing and Park avenues, and Navy and North Elliot streets in Fort Greene), the Douglas and DeGraw Pool (Third Avenue and Nevins Street in Boerum Hill), the Red Hook Pool (Bay and Henry streets), and the Sunset Park Pool (Seventh Avenue between 41st and 44th streets), with the latter two being Olympic sized.

For more information go to www.nyc.gov/parks.

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