Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On the Banneker Pool this weekend: fun, crowds, and suggestions

By Emily S.

Trying to escape the heat this weekend was an adventure in itself. I gave up my Banneker Pool virginity on Saturday and had a very pleasant experience. No lines for the diving board, enough room to have underwater swimming contests and not have a human collision, and adult swim every hour for ten minutes. We even got chairs!

The mood around the water on Monday, with its glorious high of 101 degrees, was a different story altogether. Swimmers were banished from the deep end and crowded into the sides, lifeguard whistles were blasting, and there seemed to be many disgruntled swimmers. At 4:30, Walter, one of the managers, called everyone out of the water for an announcement at the north end of the pool. He first explained that the pool’s “no street clothes policy” was not only for hygienic reasons, but also to make it easier to make sure that no creepers are ogling the scantly clad patrons. If you ain’t there to swim – or watch your kids swim – then the pool ain’t for you.

And secondly, wearing underwear under a swimsuit is, as Walter said, “disgusting”. Besides being gross, it adds to the murkiness of the water, which (get ready for this) is why the deep end is closed. If the lifeguards can’t see the drains at the bottom of the pool then no one can swim there. Period. Speaking of lifeguards, he asked that patrons needed to show them more respect and follow their instructions – always a challenge at a public pool.

It was such a great announcement! I agreed whole-heartedly with everything he said. I do, however, have a few suggestions to aid Banneker in its quest for obedience.
1) Megaphones: it's hard to tell what a blown whistle actually means
2) I would say a loudspeaker system, but I highly doubt that the city would provide the funding
3) Better signs EXPLICITLY explaining the rules. As in “POOL RULES” and “breaking these rules is grounds for eternal banishment expulsion”

In general, I enjoy the environment and ambiance at Banneker. I just want to be able to swim in the deep end and not be grossed out by the murky H2O.

The Banneker Pool is at 2500 Georgia Ave NW and is open 1 to 8 pm Monday through Wednesday and Friday and noon to 8 pm Saturday and Sunday. Closed Thursdays.


  1. This is interesting because I went to the pool at Francis yesterday and they had the deep end closed too. I wonder if they just closed them because it was safer due to the big crowds.

  2. That's too bad. I went on Sunday and the pool was clear and refreshing and chairs were aplenty. As for "street clothes" rule, I did notice a few ooglers around the fences which was creepy. The rule now makes sense.

  3. Yeah, people were definitely less grumpy after they explained everything.

  4. I don't get it. Isn't water a liquid and therefore it will disperse? Very basic physics would show that closing off one end of the pool isn't containing the problem? the "murky" stuff is bound to move to the other ends of the pool due to the basic nature of a LIQUID.
    I believe only solids can be contained and confined without a wall or container.

  5. Well the deep end is in the middle, so I'm guessing the murky stuff sank there.

  6. re:yuck, I'm just speculating. It's usually clear.

  7. it makes perfect sense, though, that the "murkiness" would sink. My yuck was at the apparent source of the murkiness. Next time I want to go for a swim I think I'll just fill my tub with cool water.

  8. The no street clothes (including sneakers) rule is a bit much. Some of the parents are simply accompanying/watching their kids; they have no intention of swimming. So, I think its a good rule, unless you are accompanying kids. I also think a large sign/white board with instructions, pool temp. reading, pool chemistry readings, etc. would be helpful. There's plenty of room for this type of thing.

  9. That's a good point, a big sign with rules would be helpful.

  10. Pool water gets murky when the chemicals are out of whack or too much dirt, leaves, etc. get into the pool. The deep end is deeper, so it is harder to see through the murkiness to the bottom in the deep end than it is the shallow end. Since lifeguards need to see the bottom, murky deep water is off limits, but equally murky shallow water (where you can still see the bottom) is okay.


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