With temperatures in the low 50s and rain coming down in sheets, Saturday was not what most people would consider a great day for swimming.
Even so, more than 200 die-hard swimmers showed up with towels and trunks for the grand opening of Tacoma’s Kandle Pool.
“It always rains in Washington,” shrugged Monica Weeks, 42, who lives a few blocks away on Pearl Street.
Weeks arrived at the new pool at 10:30 a.m., an hour before the scheduled opening, hoping to be first in line.
“There were already 20 people here,” Weeks said.
Metro Parks commissioners on hand for the opening kept their remarks mercifully short, as a long line of soaked swimmers stood waiting outside the gate in rain gear or huddled under umbrellas.
“This isn’t quite the weather we ordered, but I promise you, there will be better days,” said Parks Board president Larry Dahl. “Hopefully soon.”
Admission was free Saturday, and a Caribbean steel drum band provided music. The first 250 people to enter got free oranges and hot dogs at the pool’s “Shark Shack” concession booth.
“It’s really a thank you to Tacoma,” Nancy Johnson, Metro Parks spokeswoman, said of the grand opening.
The pool was paid for in part through a 2005 bond issue approved by Tacoma voters. It’s the centerpiece of a $7.5 million overhaul of 10-acre Kandle Park.
The new pool complex, in the park at 5302 N. 26th St., is Pierce County’s first wave pool. It features a zero-depth, gradual entry to provide easy access for children and people with disabilities and a “tot pool” and a spray ground.
Staff writer Karen Miller contributed to this report.