With severe back problems Hermann finds pain relief from being weightless in the 86-degree water, but she enjoys much more than relief from pain — daily companionship with her pool friends. Most likely, Fern can call anyone swimming at Brooks Pool by name.
Kim Tipton, pool manager and water aerobics instructor, explains how members, mostly seniors, benefit from their involvement at the pool.
“We have many members with health issues: arthritis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, back injuries. They attend for health reasons, then become friends. They talk while they exercise. Some have shared success stories of their physicians attributing their quick recoveries from surgeries or accidents as a result of their activity at Brooks Pool.”
Jan Haynes, director of communications for Broadway Methodist Church, said, “Unexpected side effects have come about at the pool. Its initial goal was to provide exercise. Then the members started lunching together. Even those who can’t come any more still meet for lunch and other activities.”
Norma Hartle’s involvement at the pool goes back many years.
“While in my 40s I was diagnosed with arthritis. I realized that I had to do something so I started swimming. During a time when my son-in-law was ill, I took a hiatus from the pool. My husband, Fred, saw the difference in me away from what he called my ‘psychologists.’ He told me that I had to get back to the pool. He was right. I went back to swimming and to my core group.”
In the late ’90s the pool closed temporarily.
“When they closed, I don’t think they realized what we were missing,” Hartle said. “Even though we couldn’t swim, we continued to get together for lunch.”
Mary Allison’s pillowcase dresses for girls in Africa project is an example of friends networking at Brooks Pool. While exercising, the women talk. They have picked up buttons and slightly used pillowcases to donate to Allison’s project.
Other projects have included organizing blood drives and maintaining a book swap at the church. A prayer board located in the women’s dressing room informs swimmers when friends are in need, resulting in prayers, cards and letters and hospital visits to friends. A Brooks Pool Facebook page has also been created to help friends keep up with each other.
“Brooks Pool isn’t just for women,” director Kim Tipton said.
“We are seeing more men use the pool. Until a recent car accident, Malcolm Jones, 88, was swimming 20 laps, three times a week. That’s almost half a mile. The accident left him with injuries that his doctor said would have been much more serious if he had not been so physically fit from swimming.”
Brooks Pool’s swim aerobics class is 10 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and is not limited to seniors. Open swim is from 11 to 1 when the pool closes, then reopens from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Monthly membership is $25 with no contract involved.