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Laughter and splashes at Sellwood Pools season opening

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The Sellwood Pools Big Shower is a fun water feature - especially on a hot day.As area youngsters have been doing for more than a century, kids could hardly contain themselves as they lined up outside Portland Parks & Recreation’s Sellwood Pool on Tuesday, June 18th, to celebrate the season’s opening day.

Pool Manager Kim Cunningham said she recalled how she herself anticipated the facility’s opening every year, when she was growing up just blocks away.

“Now, this starts my 14th year working here at Sellwood Pool, and my fourth year as the General Pool Manager,” Cunningham told THE BEE.

“The best part of opening day for me is seeing all of the families come back. The summertime season is when I get to see them. They come back, year after year.”

Although some families traveled to the pool from outside the neighborhood on opening day, “This truly is a local pool, serving neighborhood families,” Cunningham smiled.

Now in her 27th year as a Sellwood Pool swim instructor, Debb Chapman told THE BEE that she, too, remembers Cunningham’s first visits.

“If I told you she was a rascal, would that tell you that I remember her? She was one of those lively children you have to keep ‘scooping’ back in to the class – like a mother octopus, herding fish!” quipped Chapman. “Now, years later, we’re co-workers – I’m so proud of her!”

Chapman also mentioned the importance of learning to swim, and of water safety. “We start them as early as six months, and then we have them up to 13 and 14 years old.

“Swimming is a very important life skill, especially because Portland is surrounded by water. When kids learn to swim at an early age, it benefits them throughout their entire life.”

The Sellwood Pool is at the south end of upper Sellwood Park, 7951 S.E. 7th Avenue. For more information, call 503/823-3679. And, to download a PDF file of the summer schedule, go online to: www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/452837