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Pool Stories

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Everybody's got a swimming story — where they learned, the crazy way they could've been buried alive under a pile of wet kids, how it makes them feel to swim:

"I grew up in San Francisco. I learned to swim at Fleishacker Pool. It was the biggest outdoor pool, and it was salt water. It was down on Ocean Beach, right by the zoo, and so they just pumped in ocean water."

— Jan Carroll, swimming, water aerobics and adaptive learning instructor for Eureka Adult School and College of the Redwoods.

"I grew up in Los Angeles and learned to swim at Catalina Island. When the big passenger boats would come in from the mainland, the kids would go out to meet the boat and people would throw coins over the side. And it was always boys out there, except for me, so more coins came my way."

— Junie Speier, 84, swimmer, teacher, former lifeguard.

"I lived on a farm in Washington Crossing, New Jersey, as a kid. We used to walk down to the Delaware River to swim. It was about a mile from our farm, and it was real hot in New Jersey, and we kept thinking about that nice cold river water. But coming back we'd get all hot again. We learned a lot about water safety. One time, there was a man whose little girl was yelling, 'Help! Help!' And I knew the river, I knew it was shallow in some places and deep in others. All I had to do was pull her away from the deep hole."

— Ina Harris, 85, swimmer and teacher.

"When I was in high school, I was out in the middle of Lake Mead — I grew up in Las Vegas — and I had a cramp, and it scared the hell out of me. So that was the end of my swimming career. Fast forward to my adult life. I have a place up at Ruth Lake, and I have a dock, and I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, what if somebody was out there and drowning? I'd have to watch. I said, I can't do that. So I started coming here. And on my 62nd birthday I swam across Ruth Lake."

— Paul Stanley, 72, swimmer at Eureka pool.

"We had a very interesting pool in Racine, Wisconsin. It was an outdoor pool, and it was totally circular, and you'd just walk into it. And they had a deep part in the middle that had a fence around it. And as you got out to this fence, it was maybe four feet deep. But then through the fence it went down like 12 feet, or 15 feet. And the island actually had diving boards, so there'd be just hundreds of kids jumping off, and you'd be underwater swimming and people would just land on you. It was just nuts. It was dangerous chaos."

— Paul DeMark, director of communication and marketing, College of the Redwoods.

"When you do laps, there's a rhythm that makes you feel kinship with everything — nature, water. When we're fetuses we swim in water, so it feels natural to be there. And if you grow up a swimmer, it becomes a part of you. I think it helps you get from your 70s to your 80s."

— Ina Harris.

"Floating in water — that's where we all came from."

— Eureka City Councilman Mike Jones.

"I learned how to swim here."

— Katie Peacock, 20, who still swims at Eureka High's pool.

"Swimming is just a nice time to be by yourself. It's just you, your goggles and the water. So you daydream a lot. Sometimes you're going through things. I remember when I was swimming in high school and college, I would end up solving a lot of my math problems while I was swimming."

— Dave Banducci, College of the Redwoods football coach and former swim team coach, and in college an All-American swimmer.

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