With the cool temperatures still hanging on in Borderland, few are hardy enough for a dip in Rainy Lake yet.
Still drawn to the water, some are taking advantage the Falls High School pool for their aquatic fix.
Each morning before school, the pool is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., with some protocols in place to keep swimmers as safe as possible.
Swimmers must show up ready to swim, to limit locker room use, and they are asked to wear a mask when not in the pool.
One group who visits the pool every morning say getting into the pool is a great form of exercise.
And getting together after the swim is a great form of socializing, one they missed when the pool wasn’t open, due to the pandemic.
“I think the key for most of us is that we can do a lot more in the water,” Pam Urban said. “It’s easier for us to move through the water and get more exercise in.”
“Sometimes it’s hard to get up when the weather is 30 or 35 below, but we still make it” Harmony Lennox laughed.
Jackie Glowack said the morning swim group was started years ago by Shirley Kocinski, who passed away last year. Kocinski, she said, was a great advocate of the benefits of swimming.
“She would always say ‘why don’t you come to the pool tomorrow morning?’” Glowack said.
“She was the queen of the group,” Carol Schulz agreed. “You also had to make sure you never got in her lane.”
“That’s right, if someone new was in her lane she wasn’t afraid to kick you out,” Carol Grim laughed. “However, she liked that lane because she had macular degeneration, so she had to swim in the middle of the big dark line that went through that lane.”
The newest member of this group is Kathy Hart, who said she easily fit in.
“I started going when the pool reopened back in January,” she said. “I was a bit uncomfortable at first, because these girls have been swimming together forever, but they welcomed me and I felt comfortable right away.”
The tradition includes going to Hardees for breakfast, following the morning swim.
“Most of us have been doing that for around 20 years,” Glowack said.
“We just figured we might as well get something to eat, since we’re all together anyway,” Gail Anderson said.
The group encourages anyone, young or old, to pick up swimming.
The benefits are multifold, they said.
“It’s really amazing, especially if you have health and pain problems,” Lennox said. “The pool is a place of healing, and the laughter we share always helps too.”
“I’ve had some knee problems, but since I’ve started swimming things have been getting better,” Hart agreed. “The other day, I sat cross-legged on the floor for the first time in probably 30 years.”
While Schulz swims intermittently, she said she still enjoys talking with the other women of the group during breakfast.
“These girls are my new best friends,” she said, adding when she is at the pool, she’s got her foam “noodle” for assistance.
Those who might not want to get up in the early morning can also take a dip during open swim, which takes place Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. and on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The same protocols from morning swim are in place.
In a place like Borderland, where so many spend so much time on area lakes and rivers, knowing how to swim is a must for many youngsters. The FHS pool can help.
Bronco football head coach Seth Ettestad has been taking his daughter Lenore so she can practice swimming.
“She gets lots of exercise, and is exploring how water and swimming works,” he said. “Every time we go she gets more comfortable and trusting of the water. Family open swimming is a great way to spend our Saturday mornings.”
More information on the morning and open swims can be found at the FHS Community Education office at 218-283-2571 ext. 1186.