Photo: Underwood pool manager Lorraine Benoit.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, the bike rack outside the Underwood Pool was filled, there was a line at the facility’s front desk and SUVs, and sports vehicles were dropping off folks on Concord Avenue.
It was opening day of the first full-season of the Underwood, constructed and opened in August of last year. And if the first afternoon of operations is any indication, this is going to be one very popular place to Belmont.
The crowds of kids and adults frolicked in the water as temperatures and sunny skies brought out a steady stream of visitors to get a jump start on summer. Toddlers were happy just getting their feet wet in the shallow pool while older kids took advantage of the diving board’s springiness. A line of youngster prepares to take the “deep end” test as adults camped out around the parameter, staking out their little homestead.
While a bit crowded, the atmosphere around the pool is relaxed and upbeat, as is the long-time manager.
“It’s going great,” said Lorraine Benoit, who manages the staff, lifeguards and the running of the new facility.
“The best part is that every member of the family can have fun down here. And from the looks of it, they’re all here,” said Benoit.
This season, the pool has new large umbrellas along with the “Underwood trees” which is providing shade on the south side of the pool. “I don’t see people wanting for anything,” she said.
Asked what if the one thing she would tell the public about coming to the pool, Benoit didn’t hesitate to point out what will be her prime pet peeve this season.
“Before you come to the pool, put on your sunscreen at home!” said Benoit, using the referee’s voice – she is a noted field hockey, and lacrosse umpire. Saying that lotion takes a half-hour to be absorbed into the skin, Benoit said if a person enters the pool before then, “the oil is going to end up in the water, and you’re not going to get the protection.”
Last summer, during the abbreviated season, the pool was closed for some days due to water contaminated by lotion.
And when it is time to reapply the sunscreen, “just wait a bit before entering the pool. And we have so many things that you can do while you hold on, whether it’s playing volleyball in the depression (the area just outside the structure) or have lunch on the grass,” she said.
The Underwood Pool will be open daily (except for July 4) until Sunday, Sept. 5. For complete information on hours, programs and fees, go to the Belmont Recreation Department’s web page.