Last swim meet
Right around noon Saturday, the sun poked from the clouds to cast a brilliant shimmer across the waters of the East End Pool.
It lent a glimmer of hope to a day that brought with it a bit of sadness.
The day marked the final swim meet to be held at the pool at Shaw Park Place on Sherman Street.
Hundreds of people turned out poolside for the Greater Susquehanna Valley Aquatics Swim League championships.
“It’s been a great complex,” said Thad Meckley, a former swimmer and swim coach who serves as president of the Williamsport Waves.
The Waves, comprised of boy and girl swimmers, served as the host team for Saturday’s championships, which involved 13 teams and hundreds of participants.
The team hopes to use the Memorial Pool next year for its meets and practices, but that all hinges on whether the complex in Williamsport’s West End is able to open.
The city received a grant to make upgrades to the Memorial Pool and efforts are underway to raise money needed to renovate the pool, which has been closed for the past two years.
Meckley said he had a lot of memories of the East End Pool.
“It’s the first pool I ever came to,” he said.
Meckley, who later made the
swim team at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said the pool has been part of the lives of many families involved in swimming over the years.
People such as Wendy Fenstamaker Pricher know what Meckley means.
“My mom (Andrea Phillips) has been coming for years,” she said. “It’s really sad to see all these local pools close.”
A former competitive swimmer with three children involved in the sport, she too holds many memories of East End Pool.
Nicole Hockman, Williamsport Waves treasurer, said the East End Pool has served the team well over the years.
“We have a beautiful complex here,” she said.
Jerry Hammaker, Lycoming College swim coach, said the East End Pool always has been one of his favorites.
“I think it was the second pool I swam in,” said Hammaker, a 1985 Williamsport Area High School graduate who starred on many swim teams in the area as a youth. “I started here when I was 5.”
Hammaker was at his familiar spot behind the microphone at East End Pool Saturday, serving as an announcer at the swimming championships.
While sad to see East End close, he said he’ll be happy if Memorial Pool opens next year.
“There is a lot of interest in this area for swimming,” Hockman said.
Meckley noted that this year alone, a number of Waves swimmers have set swim meet records.
About 80 swimmers competed this year for the Waves.
“Next year, we will be pool-less if Memorial is not open,” Hockman said.
To which Meckley quickly added: “We will be there next year.”