Swimmers were splashing around the pool at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex, enjoying the facility which recently received a $90,000 makeover.
Some adult swimmers swam laps, while some kids received instruction from Coach Robin Hilgenberg.
A little while later, others joined in, taking a refreshing dip on a scorching hot day.
Normally, the pool is open in time for Memorial Day holiday, but this year it wasn’t, because of delays on the project to upgrade the pool.
Besides resurfacing the pool, and repainting the deck, the pool’s shower facilities were improved, too.
The last time the pool had been resurfaced was during the 1990s.
Jordan Wheeler, a head lifeguard at the pool, said the improvements are noticeable.
“If you go in there, it feels a lot better on your feet. There were some holes on the backside over there, that got completely mended,” he said.
It looks better, too, he said.
“The water, now, is a lot more blue,” said Wheeler, who is working at the pool for his third season.
The pool has a capacity for 150 guests, but typically doesn’t get that crowded, he said, noting the most he’s seen there at one time was about 120.
A number of summer camps visit the pool, and the kids seem to enjoy themselves.
“It gets rowdy, that’s for sure,” he said.
The pool’s upgrades were done primarily in the off-season, he said.
“We were only closed for about a week and a half in the time that we’d normally be open,” Wheeler said. “It was less than optimal that we didn’t get to open on Memorial Day. Usually, a lot of people want to come by. It’s practically the first day of summer. People want to go out and spend their day out at the pool.”
“We’re really excited to have this facility cleaned up a little bit, because last year it was kind of in sad shape,” said Kristany Fitzthum, supervisor at the site.
With the repair work completed, Fitzthum hopes people will take advantage of the pool.
“I don’t think many people know that we’re open. Our first day, we had four people here. Yesterday, we had 12 or 13,” she said.
To make matters worse, there was lightning on both afternoons, which meant they had to clear the pool.
When lightning is within a 10-mile radius of the pool, it is cleared for a half-hour before swimmers can return, Fitzthum said.
The price of admission is reasonable, Fitzthum noted. The daily charge for swimming is $4 for adults and $3 for children. Passes also are available. A family of four, with two adults and two children, is $120; an adult pass is $80, and a child’s pass is $60.
“The New Port Richey Recreation Center, it’s $7 to get in and swim, per person,” Fitzthum said.
Another advantage at the Land O’ Lakes complex is that there’s an adults’ only hour from 11 a.m. to noon, she said.
The pool temperature is kept at 80 degrees to 83 degrees.
“Most of the people who come here are really local. Most of our people who come are regulars. So, we can form really good relationships with them. We know all of them by name,” Fitzthum said.
Nancy and Bernie Guss, who live in Plantation Palms, are both retired from Pasco County Schools.
They began using the pool when it opened, and their now-grown daughter was a member of a swim team there.
“We can do our yard work in the morning, and then just come over here in the afternoon and relax,” Nancy Guss said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of classes they offer. I hope they have a variety of classes,” she said.
Marie Berghoefer, who was doing laps, said she’s been swimming at the pool for 10 years. A lifelong swimmer, she said she enjoys coming to the pool and will be there as often as she can be this summer.
Carrie Kukuda, also of Land O’ Lakes, was swimming laps, too.
She said she appreciates the convenience of the pool, not only for herself but for members of the triathlon team from Get A Grip Total Fitness, where she is the owner, trainer and head coach.
As Coach Hilgenberg taught her class, some parents looked on.
Debbie Fisher has two kids — 13-year-old Tyler Esenberg and 11-year-old Kayla Esenberg — in the class, and Larisa Curbelo’s son, Nick, is taking it, too.
“This is their first day,” said Fisher, who lives in Lake Padgett. “They want to try out for high school swim. They want to be ready,” Fisher said. Tyler is going into eighth grade, and Kayla will be in seventh.
“They learned how to swim in Coach Robin’s backyard when they were young,” Fisher said, but they don’t swim competitively, and they want to learn the proper techniques.
She was glad they were there.
“They look happy,” Fisher said.
Curbelo, who lives in Wilderness Lake Preserve, said her 12-year-old son is “big into fitness now.”
She’s impressed by the pool at the Land O’ Lakes complex.
“It’s a beautiful pool,” she said.
“It’s great that they have somewhere to go,” Curbelo added.
The pool is open Tuesdays through Sunday. It opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays, and closes at 6 p.m. It opens at 11 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 7 p.m.
Week day hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Weekend hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Adults swim only, 11 a.m. to noon
Closed on Mondays, except for holidays
Daily admission: $4 adults, $3 children. (Passes: Family, $120; adult, $80; child, $60)
Published June 15, 2016