Catonsville area swimming pools are in the midst of their summer season, with Five Oaks, Rollingwood, and others reopened with no regulations for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barbara Bates, manager of Five Oaks Swim Club on Frederick Road, said the club fully reopened the Friday before Memorial Day.
“Its some kind of normal which is good — we all need that,” she said. “People are just thrilled to be outside and be here again.”
Five Oaks Swim Club features a large pool, playground, sand box, slides and swings, volleyball, basketball and snack bar. Hours for the club are 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Bates is in her 35th year working at Five Oaks and called the last 18 months very stressful.
“Having to monitor everything, how many people who were in the bathroom, who could use the playground, we had to do sign-ups, we had to close every three hours to sanitize the facility on every surface,” she said. “I could not be happier, you want [members] to be able to come when they want when they pay for a membership so it’s definitely great,” she said.
A membership is needed to enter the pool and every member is required to show identification. Guests are allowed into the pool with a member of the club. According to their website, guest fees are $8 during the week and $10 on the weekends — which includes non-swimmers.
Club member Amy Salkauskas said her parents have been coming to the pool since 1975 and she rejoined when she had her own family.
“I’m excited for my kids to be around their friends at the pool” she said. “It feels like things are coming back to normal.”
Club member Stephanie Skiffington was very happy to be back at Five Oaks. She has been coming to the pool for 34 years and called it “absolutely gorgeous”.
Rollingwood, located on Balfred Road, is a community pool which features a playground, a slide, and snack bar. A membership is also required to use its pool, although current members can receive two free guest passes for referring new members.
Head lifeguard Paul Sullivan reflected on the unprecedented year due to the pandemic and Rollingwood being more open this year.
“Last year we had a mask effect for the majority part of the pool and everyone had their individual spot on the pool deck where they could take off their mask,” he said. “This year we are a lot more open because Baltimore County’s rules allowed us to do that.”
Rollingwood’s hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are noon - 8 p.m. All persons entering the pool are required to have a signed liability waiver, said Sullivan.
“We’ve had a lot of positive responses since reopening — people are happy about it,” Coeli Love, manager of the Rollingwood Swim Club.
Club member Greg Philipowitz was very excited to get back to his neighborhood pool, as he discussed the recent heat in Maryland.
“When the heat returned it was a beautiful day at the pool,” he said.
The Beaver Dam Swimming Club in Cockeysville, like many pools in the area, is open for without regulations for the first time since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike most pools in Baltimore County, Beaver Dam does not require a membership to swim there, although it does offer season passes available for purchase online for a full season or weekdays only.
The daily prices for admission are $17 for ages 12 and over and $14 for ages 2 to 11. Children younger than 2 are admitted free. Hours for the club are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. everyday, said Mike Hanley, club manager.
Located at 10820 Beaver Dam Road, the club covers about 30 acres, featuring two swimming pools; a quarry surrounded by rocks, trees and grass with a rope swing; basketball, tennis and volleyball courts; and picnic areas.
People can bring their own food or purchase items from the snack bar. No alcoholic beverages are allowed.
“We’re off to a good start this year, I hope it’s just as safe and happy as is was in past years,” Hanley said.