After a six month hiatus, the UC Davis Rec Pool will finally resurface on Saturday, sprinkling a much needed splash on overheated Davis residents.
The pool, located on the corner of LaRue and Hutchison, will open at noon and is free for current students and $4 for non-students. During the summer, fees go down for non-students to $2.
The pool features a free-form shape with a flow-over style deck and an island in the middle of the pool. The deck includes both concrete surfaces and grass, with a hill that is “just the right angle for sunbathing,” said Janna Tolla, assistant director of aquatics, risk management and student development for Campus Recreation.
“It’s probably one of the most beautiful pools I’ve seen,” Tolla said of the Rec Pool, which sees approximately 100,000 patrons per year.
Most come to the pool for social purposes, given its large lounge area. There are only two lap lanes, in which very few people actually swim laps in, said lifeguard for the Rec Pool Molly Fluet.
“If you’re just there to relax or tan or read, it’s perfect,” said Fluet, a senior history major. “It was built for leisure, and people definitely enjoy themselves there.“
Recently, Campus Recreation added lawn chairs to the deck of the pool. It is also remodeling the locker rooms and front office, providing a much-needed change for the facilities, which Fluet says are quite old.
The pool was built in 1965 with student registration fees as part of the Putah Creek Lodge Complex. Formerly, the Lodge Complex also included tennis courts and beach volleyball courts, but have since been replaced with other campus facilities. The pool has always been closed for six months out of the winter season to conserve the cost of heating and staff pay.
“Sometimes people call the Rec Pool a meat market, just because there’s such a high volume of students there,” Fluet said. “But on an ordinary weekday afternoon, there’s plenty of space and not as many people.“
Fluet also said that the Rec Pool is most crowded on Saturdays between 1 and 4 p.m. During the evenings, mostly families visit the center, as the pool also features a shallow children’s pool and swim lessons for the community.
Students have often been known to bring alcoholic beverages to the pool; however, staff members patrol the area and check any coolers for glass containers and alcoholic beverages. Additionally, lifeguards rove about the deck, checking not only for alcohol consumption but heat stroke and dehydration. If a patron gets caught for bringing or drinking alcohol, lifeguards will kick the patron out of the pool for the day.
All lifeguards for the Rec Pool have at least two years of prior experience and train three times a week for emergencies. Typically, emergencies occur about once a month, and are usually children who wander into the deep end without knowing how to swim, Fluet said.
Employees of one of UC Davis‘ other campus aquatic center, Hickey Pool, are also excited about the Rec Pool’s opening, as the hot weather has driven more to the pool, which is typically used for laps.
“We’re really glad another pool is opening up, especially now that it’s getting hotter,“ said Kathryn Weldon, sophomore biology major and lifeguard at Hickey Gym. “More and more people every day have been coming to the pool, and it’s getting to the point where people are swimming into each other in the lanes. It’s getting to be unsafe.“
Though the Rec Pool’s budget has not been affected by the recent budget cuts, this season’s patronage will determine whether cuts can be made to the Rec Pool’s budget, Fluet said.
The pool will be open on Fridays through Sundays from noon to 7 p.m., and on Mondays through Thursdays from 1 to 6 p.m. in the spring. Hours will change in the summer.
For more information, visit the Recreation Pool’s website at campusrecreation.ucdavis.edu/recreation_pool.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com.