Stay cool at the pool

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2013

It’s summer in the South. The temperature and the humidity are rising. Two weeks out of school, and the kids are already complaining about being bored.
There has never been a better time to take them to the pool. The smell of chlorine, the blue water, the diving board — they bring good memories.
Rowan County is lucky to have a number of public and private pools that keep heat-battered people from wilting during the long summer days. For some, going to the pool is more than a fun way to cool down, it’s a family tradition.
Take Blue Waters Pool, off Faith Road. It’s been family owned for 48 years, ever since the current owner’s great-grandfather started pumping in water from a nearby creek. Jimmy Roseman inherited the mantle in 1998 and says a lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into making a pool inviting.
“Every morning, it’s got to look like nobody was here yesterday,” he said.
Like most public pools, people can’t wait to go there. Camps and church groups ship in from Mooresville and Charlotte. Half the time, Roseman said, there’s a line waiting with towels, chairs and sunscreen when he opens the gates at 10 a.m.
“You hop on a freight train at the beginning of summer and don’t get off till summer’s over,” he said.
But it’s worth it. Not just for the smiles on the kids’ faces, but because, for many swimmers, the pool has become part of the family.
Chris James has been swimming at Blue Waters for 37 years. The first time he remembers going to the pool, he was 4. It was a family outing, and James’ grandfather took him into the shallow end to paddle around. James had never been swimming before, and when he was put in the water he started screaming.
“We had to leave,” he recalled, laughing.
But after the initial disaster, it didn’t take him long to warm up to swimming. Soon, going to the pool was a beginning-of-summer treat. James said that on the last day of school, he’d rush down to the pool with a friend to cool off.
Some things don’t change, he said. The green raft in the center of the pool is an exact replica of the one he played “sharks and minnows” under. The diving board is still in the same place as the one he used for splash contests. And because Roseman likes to keep Blue Waters as close to the feel of its 1964 grand opening as possible, the songs blasting out of the speakers are the same ones that were playing when James went swimming with his football buddies.
The pool is a place for people to grow up. James said that people he’d see at the pool every summer are older now and are bringing their own kids — or their grandkids. And James is no exception.
He brings daughter Haley and wife Raina and loves that the pool has become a long-standing family tradition. James said that in today’s instant-information and technology-saturated world he’s glad to see that kids still enjoy the things he did when he was their age. Haley, 14, agrees.
“I love everything about this place,” she said.
In his day, James loved going because it was a good place to look for prospective dates. Now, he loves it for a different reason. He sits in the shallows with his wife and daughter and relaxes, knowing that if the sun ever gets too hot, refreshment is just a step away.

Rebecca Rider is a Catawba College senior and an intern at the Salisbury Post.