Friday, 9/11/20 at about 6pm. David Kramer taking THE very last lap of the 2020 season at the Genesee Valley Pool. [Photo: Brittany Frank, Assistant Pool Manager]
During this summer’s interminable heat wave, one unalloyed respite and pleasure was the Adult Swim hours at the Genesee Valley Pool on 131 Elmwood Avenue in Genesee Valley Park. I biked to the pool on the Canal Path. Upon arrival I was sweating, but a quick cold shower and a dip into the shallow end made me forget we were trapped in a heat bubble.
The pool is picturesquely set with the woods of the park to the the left, views of the River Campus in front and colorful murals to the right. A swim is even more enhanced when a baseball game is being played on the field in the rear with the the sounds of the fans and players adding to the already energetic atmosphere.
Remarkably, all this pleasure took place during a pandemic. I spoke with Aquatics and Athletics Manager John Picone who explained how the season was successfully completed with literally no related health issues.John also arranged a photo op for me to be the very last swimmer of the season when the pool closed at 6pm on Friday September 11th, a final lap that would be the last one until June 2022 when the pool reopens following an extensive remodelling, making a great pool even better.
Talker: I remember when the pool first re-opened on June 27th. At the time, I was worried that any indications of infection would force another closing. However, the entire season was completed without incident. What precautions and procedures did you use to ensure such a successful safety record?
John: We spent the month of May and June and worked with our Commissioner Daniel Lyman-Torres on a plan for re-opening that assessed our building and procedures and how best we could safely open our outdoor pool. As you are aware, Covid-19 has not been found to exist in properly treated pools. With this in mind, we were able to shut down use of our lobby and remove all seating, strongly suggesting for people to come to the pool and only use the locker room to shower before entering and limiting their time in the locker rooms. Additionally, we followed all CDC and Gov. Cuomo guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting and required all patrons to have a mask upon entering. We successfully introduced a Health Assessment Questionnaire and Temperature check before entering and reduced our capacity to 50%. Finally, We also had patrons wait outside to watch their children when swimming and had the swimming slides off limits.Talker: Next year the pool is scheduled for a very impressive remodeling. You mentioned that while the pool will be closed for the season, the wait will be well worth it. How will the pool look different in 2022?
John: The Capital Improvement Project will address the pool deck by installing a new deck along with new slides and a fiberglass bulkhead and underdrains and a marcite pool flooring repair and a new pool cover on wheels. In addition, we will have a new entrance plaza that will include additional greenspace and ADA improvements and electronic signage. This is an exciting update to the County’s only outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool!
For the final lap, Assistant Pool Manager Brittany Frank chronicled my journey from the shallow end to the deep end and then finally to a satisfying departure.On Saturday September 12th, the Rochester Fire Department did use the pool for scuba diving practice, but mine was still the last public lap. Every season, I meet interesting people. In the last week, I befriended Clyde “Aqua Man” Morgan, retired professor in the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport and retired artistic director of Sankofa African Dance and Drum Ensemble. An avid swimmer, Clyde considers the Complex to be a truly great recreational contribution to Monroe County.
Clyde splits his time between Rochester and Brazil where he swims in the tropical ocean waters. For Clyde, swimming is a form of underwater dance. Oh, Clyde is 80 years old with every intent to be back for the 2022 season. As Aqua Man likes to say, “May the Water Spirits be with you!”
ON OTHER SPORTS IN GENESEE VALLEY PARK