After sunset, lifeguards relish chance to watch the pool | CraigDailyPress.com
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After sunset, lifeguards relish chance to watch the pool

Ben Bulkeley
Vanessa Murray, 20, shoots out of the slide Thursday evening during a special moonlight swim at the Craig Swimming Complex lap pool. Murray is a lifeguard at the pool and has been working there for five years.
Hans Hallgren

As the sun set Thursday on the Craig Swimming Complex, there still were a few people around.

Lifeguards mop up bathrooms and tiled surfaces after their shifts are over, and a couple of stray swimmers paddle back and forth.

With the wave pool shuttered for renovations, and the sun sinking fast, just two lifeguards watched out over the pool and one or two swimmers out to notch a few late laps.

Vanessa Murray, 20, and Mary Penner, 16, don’t mind – Murray volunteered – being at the pool during the summer’s lone moonlight swim.

“Guarding at night is more relaxing than during the day,” Murray said. “It’s just a more relaxing atmosphere.”

Anita Reynolds, the swimming complex assistant manager, said the moonlight family swim was new this year.

“We used to have moonlight aerobics classes,” she said. “But we didn’t this year, so we thought we’d offer a family swim.”

If the moonlight swim is a success, the pool might consider offering more nights next summer.

Penner, who is ending her first summer as a lifeguard at the pool, said she was enjoying her first night watch.

“When it’s hot out during the day and the pool is full of kids, it’s definitely a bit more nerve-wracking,” she said. “I like it at night, except that it can get cold.”

When the temperature does drop, heavier clothing comes on, which can present a different type of problem.

“If you’re fully dressed in a sweatshirt and sweat pants, when you do have to go in, you don’t have any clothes to wear home,” Murray said.

Murray added that regardless of the temperature, she never hesitates when trouble may come.

“You get such an adrenaline rush, that you don’t even think about taking anything off,” she said.

During the night, Murray is less likely to go in, she said.

“Most of the swimmers at night are older, and there aren’t as many kids,” she said. “We don’t have to yell at little kids who break rules just for the sake of breaking them.”

With no light poles over the pool, illumination comes from below.

“There are lights in the pool,” Murray said. “They’re all sunken, and when we turn them on, it’s really pretty.”

During the pool’s Splash Parties, the wave pool is left open during the night, which Murray said is not as much fun as watching the lap pool.

“We use a spotlight to light up the wave pool, so there’s really funky lighting,” she said. “That can be nerve-wracking. You can’t see as well, and there are usually kids there, so you don’t know how well they can swim.”

Penny Murphy will do laps anywhere, as her swim cap proclaims.

She swims at night because it’s most convenient.

“I work during the day, so I have to come at night,” she said. “It’s nice at night because the sun is beating down on you.”

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or bbulkeley@craigdailypress.com.


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