A rather large woman with learning difficulties dropped, feet first, into the pool in front of a life guard. The pool is only 4.5" deep where she took her plunge. The woman jumped in with a big splash soaking an elderly woman floating very nearby. The life guard didn't react. Startled and wet from the splash the older woman belted out: WHAT IN THE HELL WAS THAT?! Still no reaction from the guard. Ah, well.
This is 'open swim' at the Pomeroy Recreation and Rehabilitation Pool, ladies and gents. During this hour, folk with physical disabilities/limitations share the pool with people who have cognitive disabilities (and sometimes physical impairments as well) and that mix can become rather interesting at times. I tend to keep out of the way in the deep end, treading water for much of my pool visit. I do enjoy, however, seeing some of the other swimmers' unbounded joy at being in the water. There's usually lots of laughter and some squeals of delight. The occasional splash in the face happens, too. And that's fine. If I were elderly and in the pool, then I might worry a bit about colliding with the the more rambunctious visitors. This is especially so given that the lifeguards, like the one mentioned above, don't really seem to do much in terms of regulating behavior. Some of the more dependent pool-users come strictly with hands-on carers, but many visitors who seem to perhaps need looking after (like the woman who jumped in feet first in the shallow end) do not.
The Pomeroy Center boasts being home to the largest public rehab* pool in a 'forty mile radius'. That said, single visits to the pool cost $9.00. An annual pass could be had to the tune of $685.00. I have no idea if insurance could pick up part of the tab. I've heard from other pool users that most rehab pools are closer to the size of a Jacuzzi. This pool, by contrast, seems to be larger than your average backyard pool, but nowhere near an Olympic-size pool. (I tried to find the Pom's pool dimensions, but that info. doesn't seem to be anywhere on their website.) There's usually enough room to swim a bit, perform water exercises and not get in anyone's way, really. Occasionally, it's a 'full house' and at those times I usually shorten the length of my stay or simply hang around the edge of the pool and do some serious leg kicks for exercise.
*What qualifies the Pom as a rehab pool is the fact that it's heated to 92F/33C. I think most pools are slightly cooler, generally around 84F/29C. Dipping into the Pom feels like entering a warm bath. I find it very pleasant.