Local swimmin' hole

Two slouching lifeguards—Hyde Park teens Jennie and Emily Msall—perked up in their elevated seats as a new group of swimmers trickled into the bright, humid Myers-McLoraine pool room last Friday around noon. One by one professors, staff, students, and other members of the Ratner Athletics Center unwittingly followed the same pre-swim routine—sliding off their squishy flip-flops before dipping their feet into the water to test the temperature (kept at approximately 80°), then splashing into an open lane of the 50-meter-by-25-yard pool for some lunchtime laps.

“Everyone who comes to swim is assured of adequate workout space,” George Villarreal, the men’s swimming coach and aquatics director, writes via e-mail. “In comparison to the former offerings, Ida Noyes Pool and, before that, Bartlett Pool, which have been described variously as dungeons and pits, this pool”—which opened last September –“is an airy place to swim that keeps drawing patrons.”

No matter what the season, the pool’s year-round popularity—it’s busiest weekdays at 6:30 a.m., noon, and 8 p.m. and weekends at 9:30 a.m. and 3–6 p.m.—isn’t taken for granted. “The pool is kept clean and running well by our skilled building engineers,” Villarreal says, “who clearly take a sense of ownership in running it well. A clean pool is its best advertisement.”

Joy Olivia Miller

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Photos by Joy Olivia Miller.

June 30, 2004