Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thoughts on Victoria Pool by Jill Wing, Saratogian

Speaking of staying cool, I went with a friend on one of those really hot days to Victoria Pool, to check on its progress. The pool is being completely renovated, and it is rumored that the water will be heated. While it seems that might extend the season into September, a month more of summer at the pool is a high price to pay. Victoria Pool's excruciatingly cold water is one of its attractions. I know that may sound slightly insane -- that plunging into a chlorine Slushie would be such a big draw. But none of my pool buddies are happy about the prospect of heated water.It's a little hard to explain. The big question when you go to the pool is are you going in the water. It is such a big deal that, when you get off your lounge to take the plunge, you announce your impending dip into the icy waters to all within earshot. It's like a kid who insists his parents watch his every splash in a display of courage and innovation. So, you swing your legs over the side of the lounge, take a few deep breaths to prepare for the big one that will deplete your lungs on impact and announce, 'I'm going in.' Then your poolside audience will marvel at your bravery and ask, before you can catch your breath after surfacing, 'Is it cold?'I have been surprised that, over the years, more people haven't suffered some sort of cardiac event when they enter the water at Victoria Pool. On the other hand, it might work as an emersion defibrillator, a way to jumpstart a failing heart. Heating Victoria Pool is a bad idea. I guess we'll have to wait until June, when the pool finally opens, to see if we can keep our cold feet.
Jill Wing is a feature writer at The Saratogian. Wingin' It is published alternating Sundays in the Life section.

Restoration bricklayer sprucing up arches at Victoria Pool, April 5, 2006

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Little Victoria Pool History

History of the Victoria Pool: When the Victoria Pool, known originally as the Spa Pool, opened July 26, 1935 at 6:30 P. M. it was the northermost outdoor swimming pool in America to be so built. It was one of only two heated outdoor pools in existence at that time in the United States and boasted an innovative cleaning system that changed and filtered the water three times every 24 hours. Another unusual feature was underwater illumination, making swimming at night in the glow of submarine lights a unique activity. How many public pools have chandeliered entrance foyers? Two sculpted lion's heads that once spouted the spa's mineral waters in a fountain are evident on walls of the surrounding courtyard. And the words "Bath House" inscribed over the entrance are indicative of the pool's timelessness. Some say the "Vic" is addictive. Like the characters in the movie "Cocoon", discovered about their pool, there is something magical about the Victoria, enduring and restorative. The "Vic" is as much a place to be, as it is a place to swim. Many bathers just come to soak up the sun, and experience the old style charm of this jewel in the crown of the Spa State Park. From Poor Richard's Journal, June 1993 by Jill Wing

Victoria Pool, evening, 2005