After a cold and rainy start to the week, UC Davis students can celebrate the return of warm weather at the annual opening of the Rec Pool this Saturday at noon.
A Davis fixture for over 30 years, the Rec Pool attracts hundreds of students and community members on a typical weekday said Janna Tolla, aquatics assistant director for campus recreation.
“During the spring, the clientele is primarily college students and it stays evenly busy throughout the week,” she said. “After graduation in June, there is a large shift and the pool sees a lot more Davis families with their children.”
While Davis hosts a wide variety of pools throughout town, many students flock to the Rec Pool for its laid back environment, which includes an extensive grassy area, palm trees and a constant supply of music.
“It has a real beach party atmosphere,” said Lani Chan, a Rec Pool lifeguard. “Davis is hours from the ocean, and the Rec Pool is the closest thing we have got … it’s like an oasis.”
Students often refer to the Rec Pool as a “meat-market,” a nickname that it often lives up to, Lani said.
“Most students never actually go in the water,” she said. “The boys like to hang around the diving boards and throw balls around – that keeps them entertained for hours. Then there is always a group of girls that lines up on the deck to watch them … the Rec Pool is really the most unique social atmosphere I have ever seen.”
Campus Rec staff are currently working on bringing different events to the pool, including a break dance and belly flop contest. They are also hoping to host live music once a week from local bands.
“Ideally we want to give student bands and DJs the chance to come play at the pool on a Thursday or Friday afternoon,” Tolla said. “We are working with the Entertainment Council to do this but so far we are having trouble finding contacts for bands.”
The Rec Pool will also bring back its very popular “Midnight Splash” later this summer, which will feature kayak races, a belly flop contest and a DJ.
Though the Rec Pool is generally a laid back, relaxing environment, students can get kicked out for violating the pool rules, which includes its no alcohol policy.
“It isn’t a huge problem, but lifeguards definitely keep an eye out for students suspiciously sipping out of soda bottles,” Lani said.
Though Chan said she has never had to save anyone, lifeguards are constantly enforcing safe behavior as mishaps often occur due to carelessness.
“The most common thing is running, which can lead to all sorts of accidents” she said. “A lot of people will also try to do dumb things off the diving boards. It is entertaining, but oftentimes really stupid. People will try to do backflips the wrong way and almost hit their chins … it really freaks me out.”
When asked their opinion of the Rec Pool, many Davis students had enthusiastic reactions.
“I am super excited,” said first-year human development major Jeanette Becerrio. “I have heard about it all quarter and I am ready to get in the pool.”
Senior exercise biology major Harpreet Chauhan, who lives in the Colleges at LaRue, said he enjoys the convenience of the Rec Pool.
“It’s right next door – I go all the time,” he said.
Other students expressed more mixed responses.
“It is a nice pool, but I generally stay away,” said Andrea Chan, a sophomore psychology major. “It’s always so crowded and there are never enough chairs … it is just too loud to relax.”
Bands and DJs interested in playing at the Rec Pool can contact Janna Tolla at email@example.com.
ERICA LEE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.