When most think of a perfect swimming pool, they think about clear blue water and stripes on the bottom. But beauty is equally in the eye of the beholder, and the swimmer, especially when talking about one little-known but historic pool in Albemarle County.
For close to 100 years, swimmers in Ivy have headed deep into the woods to escape Virginia's mid-summer heat. At the Blue Ridge Swim Club, members stay comfortable thanks to a little help from Mother Nature.
Virginia Gerimino has been diving into the Blue Ridge Swim Club pool for 40 years.
"Some people say that it's one of the greatest hidden places in the Charlottesville area," she said. "We would like more people to know about it because we have plenty of room."
The pool is deep in the woods off Owensville Road in Ivy and it is filled with water from a nearby creek. Gerimino says part of its charm is that it does not change much.
"We have brighter colors in the paint, and the guard house and the bath houses," she said. "Things have been somewhat spiffed up but not enough to make anybody think it's one of these spit and polished motel pools."
The pool first opened in the early 1900s. This summer, 75 families will swim in the 10 yard wide, 100 yard long pool.
"The only thing you can see down here, civilization wise, is a house," said Lifeguard Manager Michael Roper. "Other than that, you get the serenity of the atmosphere."
In between belly flops and float rides, members share stories on the pool's past; it started out as a part of a summer camp for boys.
"To hear new stories and to know just a little bit about this place just makes it interesting and unique," said Roper.
That uniqueness is what Gerimino hopes will have families coming back 100 years from now, long after she has taken her last lap.
"To have people come along who love it as much as I do, as much as my friends who come here so often do, that's what anyone wishes for something he or she loves," Gerimino said.
Membership at the Blue Ridge Swim Club is open to the public. For more information on the club, click here.