Families plunge into Harding pool

WARREN – Parisa White said it didn’t matter how cold it was outside on Sunday.

The 7-year-old Warren girl was comfy and cozy inside the Warren G. Harding Natatorium.

“It’s great,” she exclaimed as she jumped back into the pool and into the arms of her 12-year-old brother, Larry White.

The two were among the area residents who took a respite from the wintry weather, donned their swimsuits and took the plunge during the first open swim of the season at the Warren G. Harding School in Warren.

“Parisa started coming last year and at first she wanted to hang onto the side of the pool. But now she jumps right in. You couldn’t keep her out. Once they lose that fear, you can’t keep them out of the water and that’s a good thing. It’s great,” remarked Tammy Loudon, a family friend who accompanied the siblings to the pool.

At least two dozen people gathered at the pool for opening day. Ed Bauer, who runs the program, said it typically continues Sundays through the winter months. Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. He said beginning swim lessons will be offered this coming Sunday from 2 to 2:30 p.m.

“It’s a good program for families. Last year, it really picked up. Usually once football is over for the season we see more people coming out. It’s cold outside but in here the water, I’d say, is a little warmer than it was at Mosquito Lake Saturday for the Polar Plunge,” he said.

Although most of the pool is open for free swim, a couple of lanes are set up for adults who want to swim laps.

Bauer said the program started during the past several years. Initially, the pool was open to families Friday nights but the activity was moved to Sunday afternoons.

“It’s such a beautiful facility, it would be a shame for it to sit empty when people can be using it,” Bauer said.

Chayla Hayda, 7, of Niles, said swimming during family swim days at the pool is one of her favorite things to do.

“I like going off the diving board,” she said. “I like being here.”

Wendy Wagner, who, along with her husband, Mark, brought their children to the event, said she was grateful her girls had a chance to get some exercise while having a good time.

“It really is great to be able to bring them here on a Sunday afternoon. They love it.”