Swimming season

They say “Records were made to be broken.” It seems central Virginia is trying to prove the old cliché true: every  June, July, and August we seem to reach new heights in temperature, drought, and humidity.
But the sweltering dog days are usually pretty fleeting– a new season is always just around the corner. So enjoying the fair weather while it endures becomes paramount; fortunately, our little neck of the woods provides much watery relief for rehydration.
To limn a few options, the city’s oases include Onesty pool (300 Meade Ave.) and Washington Park pool (1001 Preston Ave.). Onesty is an old-fashioned, no fuss, chillin’-down kind of pool. Surrounded by a large expanse of green grass and some older trees that newer pools don’t have, Onesty remains a community pool where a quick dip after a pick-up rugby game can be had for a nominal fee.
Washington Park is the city’s newest triumph. Redesigned in 1998, it provides all a chlorine water lover could hope for. With enough room for everyone to get their kicks in, including lap swimmers, this city pool has quickly become a second home to anyone seeking heat relief.
The county has several lakes that have been modified to be swimmer friendly. Chris Greene, Walnut Creek, and Mint Springs lakes all have sections where an annual truckload of sand is dumped and raked to simulate a beach, and some water is cordoned off for swimming. Adults can swim all the time in a separate area for lengthy laps because kids under 16 have to take a break every 45 minutes.
Except for Crozet’s Mint Springs, the lakes are not man-made and provide a plethora of alternate activities such as canoeing, boating, fishing, or just exploring one of the few nature trails.
A few notable mentions include Fry’s Spring Beach Club, the original downtown pool that at press time is actively seeking new members. Blue Ridge Swim Club, the original county pool, accepts new members only if a space becomes available. Located in Ivy with a weather-beaten sign (probably the original) for directions, it’s almost impossible to spot through the shrubbery.
All in all, our area offers many swimming options. True water babies should head for the hills, where the ever-popular but rarely populated Blue Hole of Sugar Hollow awaits with its mountain-fed, crystal-clear blue lagoon.
For all the people who actually tout this water hole, this reporter has never actually had to share it with anybody save a few snakes.
May the legacy live on!

Onesty Park is open for public swim times 12-6pm Monday through Thursday and 12-5pm Friday through Sunday. $3 city residents, $4 county. Washington Park is open Monday through Friday 12-6pm and again from 7.30-9pm. Saturday and Sunday 12-6pm. $4.50 county and $3 city.Ccounty lake facilities are open from 10am-7:45pm. $4.50 city residents, $3 county. Fry’s Spring Beach Club can be reached at 296-4181 and Blue Ridge Swim Club at 977-3937.

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