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Bulkhead Schmulkhead

Iíll be the first to admit that Iím not an expert on aquatic programs, but I am a quick study, and I have learned a lot this year, including that it would be a mistake of significant proportions not to outfit the plunge with a bulkhead before closing out the project.


I learned to swim in the creeks and lakes of the Arkansas Ozarks. Much of the time, you couldnít even see beneath the water, much less see the bottom, and the water was shared with snapping turtles, water moccasins (cottonmouths) and alligator gars. Pleasantly warm water for swimming lessons? Forget it. These were spring fed swimming holes that left you with plenty of goosebumps.









More than one young person became a quadriplegic from diving into a swimming hole and connecting headfirst with an unseen rock.







We did, however, learn to swim and learned well. Later, I served as a lifeguard at several swimming venues, including Camp Orr and Lake Wedington.  The photo below is of me, maybe 16 years, on the lifeguard stand on the gravel bar at the swimming hole at Camp Orr, a Boy Scout camp on the Buffalo River, now a National River.




We also had swimming pools, but no one ever heard of a swim team or any other organized activity for either youths or seniors. We just swam, dived, socialized and cooled off. The only structure we had was the Red Cross swimming programs, Junior and Senior lifesaving and Water Safety Instructor.


My recollection is that you seldom saw anyone over 30 in a public swimming pool.


I still like to swim. I like body surfing and snorkeling best, both requiring an ocean and both certainly more pleasant in a tropical climate. For me, enjoyable swimming involves hot weather, sunshine and cold water. When I am somewhere hot, I enjoy cooling off in a pool or floating and/or fishing a river with frequent dips.


I get little pleasure from an indoor pool, but if that was all I had, Iím sure I would have spent a lot of time there as a youth. Iíve been to the Richmond Swim Center a couple of times, but itís too dark and gloomy for me. I remember the Plunge as being expansive, sparkling and full of light.


Last time I was in The Plunge was as a volunteer assisting a Special Ed class with special needs kids enjoying the water. My own kids learned to swim in the Plunge, and I spent a fair amount of time there with them.


Thatís about it for me and swimming.