Swimming’s free – and so’s the guitar solo – before 8 a.m. at Barton Springs

I almost always start Wednesday mornings with a swim at Barton Springs with a few friends.

Besides getting in a good workout, I always see people I know. Runners gather there after logging their morning miles, to cool their legs in the cold water. My lap swimming friends show up in force, too.

I started this morning with a swim at Barton Springs Pool.

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I also love the creatures – you won’t find them at a chlorinated cement pond. But at Barton Springs, birds dive in to snatch up breakfast, fish swirl in schools, crawfish trundle across the bottom and aquatic plants undulate in the current.

This morning I got a special treat. As I hung at the far end, just above Barking Springs, a guy strolled by playing his guitar. I rested on the edge for a few minutes just as he walked by. I smiled up at him and he stopped, sang for a few minutes, then moseyed along.

Austin. It’s the best.

And did you know it’s free to get in Barton Springs before 8 a.m.? The pool opens at 5 a.m., and you can swim for free until 8 a.m. Admission is charged from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and then it’s free again until closing at 10 p.m. (Note that no lifeguards are on duty during the free swim times.)

For more information go to http://www.austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool.