The lack of sunshine did not stop this pool party Saturday evening in Carpinteria. After all, the city was celebrating its community pool turning 30, and about 30 people arrived at the birthday party.
Several of the partygoers were, in fact, the pioneers who gave Carpinteria its pool in 1989. A trio of women who served on the original pool committee attended the party, reminiscing the good old days when they and the pool were younger.
Now, Mareen Zoll, who was the committee’s treasurer, refers to herself as a “founding great-grandmother of the pool.”
The biggest force that drove Ms. Zoll to help build Carpinteria’s pool was her desire to provide the community’s children with a place to learn how to swim.
“I always had a community pool when I grew up,” said Ms. Zoll. “I also learned how to swim in the river in the Midwest. The kids here back then, they only had the ocean.”
Luckily, others shared Ms. Zoll’s desire. According to the first committee president Linda Akens, “there were some swimmers who got involved when we got involved.”
The swimmers Ms. Akens referred to include the current City’s Parks and Recreations Director Matt Roberts and former Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Scott Coffman. The two met as beach lifeguards in the late 1980s, and Mr. Coffman has gathered about three decades’ worth of experience as a beach lifeguard over his life.
With such swimming expertise on hand, the students at the pool were set up to learn from the best in the community. Ms. Akens’ children and grandchildren learned how to swim in the Carpinteria community pool. Nowadays, the 10-lane pool teaches about 150 kids how to swim each summer.
Susan Anderson, the first committee director, saw these kids outside of the pool as well. She taught high school English for several years before retiring.
“Carpinteria is a story of relationships,” said Ms. Anderson.
Twenty-year-old Leilanie Silva is grateful for these relationships and the strong women before her who paved the way to create the community pool. She has worked at the pool for two years and has recently been promoted from lifeguard to coordinator, overseeing both the aquatic program and the junior lifeguard program.
“I was a participant of the junior lifeguard program for so many years,” Ms. Silva gushed. “I never thought I’d be coordinating the program, and I’m so happy because you can never have a bad day when you’re hanging out with Carp kids.”
Ms. Silva, who’s studying to become a nurse at SBCC, looks forward to raising her own family in Carpinteria. “There’s something about this community.”