Cardinal Hill Swim and Racquet Club located in Vienna, VA serves 700 families who live in the neighborhoods just west of Tysons Corner.
The club’s facilities include a bath house, a large main pool that features a diving well with two one-meter diving boards and a water slide, an intermediate pool and a baby pool. The club also has seven high quality, lighted tennis courts, a snack bar, and a sand volleyball court. Members and their guests may use the cabana and the spacious picnic areas for private parties.
Cardinal Hill, known as “the fastest pool in the Northern Virginia Swim League (NVSL),” joined the swim league shortly after it opened in 1968. Through the years, Cardinal Hill has been the venue of choice for NVSL All-Star swimming and diving meets as well as countless divisional meets.
One reason for Cardinal Hill’s popularity is that its layout is conducive to record-setting times for NVSL swimmers. The cross-shaped 50-meter pool is set up for NVSL meets so that none of the 25-meter lanes is next to the pool borders. With open water adjoining the outside lanes, waves created by swimmers disperse into the main pool and diving well, thus limiting turbulence and allowing competitors to post best times.
Until recent years, Cardinal Hill was fixture in the upper divisions of the NVSL and the team has won many championships swimming and diving championships. Several Cardinal Hill swimmers still hold NVSL regular season individual and relay records.
A core group of organizers founded the club on June 24, 1967 after they determined that the growing neighborhood needed a community swimming pool. The club, which was incorporated under the name Tysons-Briar, purchased nearly six acres of land from the McDowell family and built the club which is one of the best summer recreation facilities in Fairfax County. In 1975, the club purchased an additional acre of land from the developers of the Wexford subdivision.
Colton Montague, who was a member of the original board of directors, recalled that with no other swim club in area, memberships to the new club sold very quickly. “We sold them on good faith to people,” he said. “It was a neighborhood enterprise.” Montague said that a housing development bordering the club’s property was under construction at the same time the pool was being built. The club sold 100 memberships to the developers of the Waverly subdivision at $450 each who in turn re-sold them to home purchasers. Initial club dues were $70 per year.
Montague said the organizers, including Arnold Albert and Albert Fisher, recognized that the McDowell property was strategically located and that the parcel of land was large enough for the swimming pools and tennis courts they envisioned. Montague’s interest in swimming was sparked as a youth when he was a member of a national AAU swim team that traveled up and down the East Coast for meets. He oversaw construction of the pool.
Official operations began on May 30, 1968. “When the pool opened in 1968, it was a tremendous success,” Montague said. A bronze plaque at the base of the flag pole recognizes the contributions of the original directors.