Summer officially arrived in Abington Saturday as the Island Grove Pool opened for the season.
The town-owned pool is now in its seventh decade of operation inside historic Island Grove.
“It’s one of my favorite days of the year,” said Kelly Johnson, Abington’s recreation director. “I really enjoy seeing everyone here. Everybody has a lot of energy.”
More than 100 kids and adults turned out Saturday afternoon to enjoy the fresh water pool, with the grove’s famous breeze off the water keeping temperatures pleasant. Abington police officers were on hand early in the day to make cotton candy. Lifeguards hosted sandcastle and cannonball contests for kids.
“I don’t remember the last time I saw so many people down here, without the Eager Beaver Camp also being in session,” said Parks & Recreation Commission Chairwoman Rachel Collins.
Season passes are still available both online and at the pool’s snack shack. Only about 25 day passes will be sold on Saturdays and Sundays.
Andrew Roy, the pool’s Aquatics Director, said there are 19 lifeguards this year, a slight increase from previous years, due in part to a larger than normal number of first year staff.
Every lifeguard has passed a course through the American Red Cross, as well as a waterfront safety course. In addition, lifeguards also receive training specific to Island Grove, Roy said.
As usual, the pool’s docks are arranged in an H shape, with restrictions in some areas depending on swimming ability. The section at the bottom of the H, as well as a section to the left, is open to all swimmers. The section above the H is open to those who pass an on-site swimming test.
“The test is upon request. They can come to the shack and find one of us,” Roy said.
Swimmers need to pass a second test to be able to swim to the raft in the middle of the pond.
Diving is not allowed in any part of the pool, however swimmers can jump in feet first.
The past couple swimming seasons have been marked by an increase in the number of people swimming after hours and leaving trash behind.
Johnson reminded that it is illegal to swim in the pool without lifeguards present. She also asked visitors to make sure they take all trash with them.
The town has also installed new security cameras to keep an eye out for illegal after-hours activity.
The pool is fed by an underground spring; it does not use water from the town’s water supply.