July 9, 2014 Edition

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Pool is the place to be

John Bland
Publisher

Having grown up in the era of the Walnut Ridge Bobcats and Pocahontas Redskins rivalry, followed later by the Bobcat vs. Mustang rivalry, it has been gratifying to see the cooperation between the communities and youth through the Pocahontas Aquatics Club (P.A.C.) Dolphins.

As reported earlier, Pocahontas is currently without a suitable swimming pool for training, so the team has been training three mornings a week at the Walnut Ridge City Pool. By relocating to our pool, the team has picked up approximately 18 to 20 new team members from the Walnut Ridge and Hoxie area.

Joe Grider, Pocahontas attorney, is president of the Pocahontas Aquatics Club. He worked with Mayor Don House and Vicky Davis, pool manager, who helped make the plan work.

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Having been a member of the Walnut Ridge Swim Team in the early 1970s, I am especially happy to see local youth getting a chance to be part of a swim team. Ben Robert Bush, who was just finishing college, started and coached our team, which did very well despite being inexperienced and competing against swimmers who trained year around.

The football players on our team, such as Mike Bassett, Ralph Duckworth, Stan Daniel and Alan Williams, developed increased lung capacity and conditioning that served them well when summer football practices began. Bill Joseph, now a doctor in Little Rock, would later coach the team for a season or two.

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Pocahontas has torn out its old city pool and is making way for a new $7 million aquatics park that will include an indoor lane pool, therapy pool and an outdoor water park. Grider said he hopes the Lawrence County swimmers will stay with the team once it returns to Pocahontas next season.

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The Walnut Ridge City Pool has seen maximum use this season. Besides the Pocahontas Dolphins and regular open swimming afternoon hours, the pool has also been the site of swimming lessons, water aerobics and swim sessions for the Mustang Camp and Vacation Station summer programs.

A third session of swimming lessons is scheduled for July 21-25, according to Vicky Davis. The pool can also be reserved for private swimming lessons and evening pool parties. Contact the mayor's office at 886-6638 for more information.

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With all these activities at the pool, it is good to know that plans for a Splash Pad to enhance the pool are still in the works.

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