“If you should rear a duck in the heart of the Sahara, no doubt it would swim if you brought it to the Nile.”
~ Mark Twain
I’m always watching the weather, am currently watching the Summer Olympics and, with amazement, watching the athletes. But who was watching the pool chemicals at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center when both the diving pool and water polo pool turned green?
To escape the heat, I spend more than a little amount of time in our pool. Most days, I can boast of its clear blue water. Southern California’s mild climate allows for a myriad of outdoor sports; with those comes responsibility, including safety.
In July 1959, when I was 3½ years old, our family moved north (from Glendale) to La Crescenta. Without a doubt, my earliest memory was seeing the swimming pool at our new house. Being mid-summer and hot, as soon as the basic necessities were unpacked, we eagerly took our first dip. With no a/c in the house or heater for the pool water, it must have been a very refreshing experience. My big sisters were 12, 13 and 15 years old and knew how to swim; being the baby, my lessons had not yet begun. Being completely enthralled by and drawn to the water, it was imperative for me to learn.
I wouldn’t exactly recommend this teaching method, but it proved to be an effective one. By the end of that first summer, I was deemed “pool safe.” Under the watchful eyes of my parents and my siblings’ coaxing, I took the plunge. Soon dog paddling and jumping in and retrieving pennies from the bottom of the pool became second nature. Not much has changed … except my age and dog paddling is now reserved for Abby!
Besides learning to swim at a young age, I received my first lessons in basic pool chemistry. With my father as the instructor and the poolside as our classroom, preschool Chemistry 101 began. But first, there were steadfast rules to follow.
1. An adult must always be present while you are in the pool or surrounding deck area.
2. The pool area must be locked upon leaving.
3. After eating, you must wait 30 minutes before swimming.
4. No suntan lotion (it clogged the filter and left a ring on the tile).
5. No diving or jumping from the adjoining filter house.
Other than those, go have fun!
Back to water maintenance. From a kid’s perspective, testing the water was a means to an end. Good results meant you could swim. During the summer months, every evening the water was checked. I thought it was great fun, adding testing drops to the pool water-filled test tubes and watching the colors appear. Then standing back, I watched my father-magician add various powders to the pool.
This much I did know. If the water turned green or cloudy, add chlorine and if your eyes stung and/or were red-there was too much chlorine. Most days the water sparkled.
Weather definitely adds a wild card to the perfect pool water chemistry equation. As warm weather raises the water’s temperature, bacteria and algae flourish. The same happens when windblown organic material gets into a pool. Upon noticing the slightly green and cloudy water during the Men’s Diving Event in Rio, my immediate unspoken reaction was, “Add chlorine – fast!” Maybe a quick phone call could have saved draining one million gallons of water! Once again fresh clear water beckons the athletes.
Typical summer weather continues on and on with only slight day-to-day changes. It can be said, “It is just plain hot.” The occasional cooler day amid the days of summer soon fades to memory as temperatures soar once again.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.