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Makin' a splash: Donner pool gets sunny opening

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Donner Aquatic Center was in full swing on Memorial Day, with kids and adults lying in the sun, swimming in the pool and plunging down a water slide.

Monday’s fun in the sun was in stark contrast to last year’s Memorial Day weekend opening. That was a flop after cold temperatures and rain set in for the holiday weekend, assistant manager Catherine Cooper said. This year, temperatures reached the low 80s.

“Since we’ve had nice weather, that really helps the pool season. We’ve had really good attendance for the last couple of days,” she said. “Memorial Day weekend is usually the busiest because everyone has it off from work.”

The center had an attendance of about 300 people as of 1:30 p.m. Monday, and that number was expected to rise before the end of the day, Cooper said.

The 133-foot long, 22-foot tall water slide was a popular attraction.

Craig Dismore came to Donner on Monday with his son, Liam, daughter, Micah, and wife, Sarah. He and his family live a block from the pool, making a trip hard to resist, he said.

“We got our passes ... and have been here all three days. We get summer passes every year,” he said. “And the weather is really nice.”

Dismore said his favorite part about the park is its proximity to their house on California Street, especially on days when he’s been out in the sun for a while.

“I like to run, work up a sweat and then come swim,” he said.

Liam said he loves to swim there, which is why they celebrated his sixth birthday at the park on Saturday.

Donner Aquatic Center, which opened Saturday, will remain open through Aug. 17.

Cooper said the pool’s staff started the process of opening the pool about three weeks ago. It had to be cleaned out and refilled with water.

The staff had to give the pool time to heat naturally since it doesn’t have a heater, she said. The Memorial Day weekend weather helped warm the water and make it more comfortable for swimmers, Cooper added.

When the pool is open, about 15 lifeguards are on staff at any given time, she said.

Pool manager Jim Lemke said a new scuba training session course is being offered this year. The sessions are conducted in partnership with Southern Indiana Scuba of Bloomington.

The next scuba session is 6:30 p.m. June 28 and 5 p.m. June 29. Cost is $20 per person.

If you go

Donner Aquatic Center, at 22nd and Sycamore streets, opened Saturday and remains open through Aug. 17. Hours are 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and on holidays.

Free public swim sessions are 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday, once school is not in session.

Public swim session prices are:

  • $2 for children ages 3 to 5
  • $3.50 for children 6 to 17
  • $4 for adults 18 years and older.
  • $40 for a public swim session season ticket for those that are 3 and older

A preschool swim time is 10 to 11 a.m. each Saturday in the leisure pool for children 6 and younger. Admission is $1.

A master swim/deep water walking class for adults is offered daily from noon to 1 p.m. in the diving well.

Master swimming classes, for adults 18 and older, includes lap swimming.

For more information, call the center at 812-376-2683 or visit online at

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