Let's Talk About...Swimming Pools


October 11, 2023

Elise S. Marylander

The pull of the pool.

Ok. Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted out of that long road trip to some great destination like Mount Rushmore was to stop at a motel for the night and get into the swimming pool? I do.

My parents and six children traveled across the country at least five times. Each time, all I could think about was whether the next Motel 6 or Best Western had a swimming pool. And we would happily forgo dinner to throw on our bathing suits and jump into an often over-chlorinated indoor swamp of a sauna and play until our parents dragged us out.

Fast forward to today: nothing has changed.

As an adult, your own kids also scream with delight when they see that murky swimming pool somewhere near Laramie, Wyoming, and splash, jump, and play until you drag them out, tired and happy.

Maybe you have your own pool or maybe you go to a public pool. It doesn't matter. The pull of the pool continues.

Ah, the magic of a swimming pool.

Whether it is a 12-year old's swim party or a bunch of high school friends over for the day, or just a few laps after work, a swimming pool works its magic.

Swimming pools can be indoors, outdoors, shallow, or deep. Some have a ladder, some have steps and some have a swim-up bar. Some are just a swimming hole by your uncle's cabin. Nonetheless, they all have a few things in common other than water. The most important thing is community.

I fondly remember diving, jumping, laughing, doing somersaults and "synchronized swimming" with my sisters, diving for coins or rocks at the bottom ("pearl diving"), all with a grin on my face.

I remember my parents' pool and all the friends that came over and raced, back-flipped, jack-knifed and cannonballed.

The power of the pool is that it brings everyone together.

I just returned from a family vacation where we rented a house with a pool and a view of the beach. We are all older now. The kids are adults.

I wondered, what were all seven of us going to do for all that time? There is only so much pinochle or so many board games you can play. But aside from beer and margaritas, it was all about the pool.

We spent a week playing in the pool.

We sat in it, talked in it, floated in it, got to know each other in it, planned futures in it, learned to swim a little better in it, and dreamed in it.

We conducted our own Olympics in it. We raced, dived, relayed, noodle-drifted, spun and shooed away bees in it. We huddled together in it, floated in it, and were silent in it.

We spent that week in the pool. And you know what? On the last day, just like when I was a child, I didn't want to get out.

I watched the sun set, thought about packing for the next day's travel, and had that familiar wash of melancholy rise in my heart as I struggled to leave the pool. Why? Because without cell phones or T.V. or any distractions, the pool brought everyone together in a way unparalleled anywhere else.

The power of the pool is to pull people together. Just to have fun, tell your stories and simply enjoy each other's company for those few days a year. No need for tours or lessons or paragliding. Just put your suit on, slather on that sunscreen, plop on a hat, turn up the tunes, and with a cold drink in hand, enjoy what is right in front of you.

My wish is that we could all have the equivalent of a pool party with friends and family all the time. Chlorine not required.


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