• 48°

Fun in the Sun

IRONTON — When school is out and the summer temperatures soar, Ironton’s Sta-Tan swimming pool becomes one of the most popular hangouts in the city to cool off.

The membership-only, Olympic-sized pool continues to serve as a respite for children and adults alike nearly 50 years after the Staton family opened the facility in 1961.

Despite record rainfall and high chlorine prices for 2009, Sta-Tan caries on to do what it does best – provide aquatic family enjoyment all summer long.

It also takes adult visitors back to their childhood with its traditional powder blue colors, faded shuffleboard courts and prominent bathhouse.

“They have the biggest swimming pool I’ve ever seen,” said 10-year-old Dylan Coon, while gauging the view on top of the high diving board.

Lifeguards keep a watchful eye on the 675,000-gallon pool while nonchalantly twirling their lanyards counterclockwise around the open palm of their hands while sitting in their chairs.

“I swam here as a kid and have a lot of memories of the place,” said 16-year-old lifeguard Tesla Volgares, who will be a junior at Ironton High School this fall. “They have the best French fries.”

The sweet smell of coconut oil lingers around the pool as a sensatory reminder that summer has arrived.

Soon to be high school freshmen hotdog it off the pool’s three-meter board attempting to win favor with the girls at the open end of the diving bay who balance on the lane line like it was a tightrope.

A middle-age couple shares a pink floating chair lounger to paddle around the center of the pool away from the splashing and kicking in the shallower ends. The baby pool has more adults relaxing in it than kids.

Other use the balmy afternoon to catch some of the rare sunshine that occasionally peeks out from under the clouds. Beneath the cooling comfort of the bathhouse pavilion, a line for the concession stand snakes around several picnic tables while an intense game of dominoes wraps up.

As the game breaks, sparrows bombard the pool’s concrete deck attempting to snag any leftover pieces of a soggy hamburger bun.

The eastern half of the pool’s basketball court serves as a makeshift football field as three teens start preparing for the season while tossing the pigskin back and forth between each other.

At the playground, a father carefully balances his two daughters on a sea-saw making sure neither of them tumbles off.

All of it makes just another day at Sta-Tan. Days that still have swimmers leaving with a smile.