Families are at the heart of Williamsburg Community Pool
Kim Wheatley paused from her afternoon swim at Williamsburg Community Pool to comment about why she enjoys spending time there.
“I have been coming here for years,” she said, adjusting her goggles. “There is a great atmosphere here.”
It is that spirit of family and camaraderie that seems to be at the crux of the pool community. Next year, the pool, which is nestled in a wooded glen in the rear of the Williamsburg Shopping Center near Ace Peninsula Hardware and the Virginia Regional Ballet, celebrates 60 years. Some people have been a long history at the pool, watching generations learn to swim and take part in activities.
Tom Mainor has been a member for more than four decades. “It has been a great place for the children, and now it is great for the grandchildren,” he said with a smile.
“It builds a good sense of family,” said Linda Hertzler, who with her husband, Joe, are championing the pool enhancement project in anticipation of next year’s milestone. “We have some great families who come here. There is a lot of love and support at this pool. This pool has heart.”
Joe Hertzler is president of the Williamsburg Area Memorial Community Center board that helps maintain the facility and oversee daily operations. The Hertzlers have been helping to raise money and awareness about the pool, which welcomed its first swimmers in August of 1955.
“People don’t realize it is still here,” Linda Hertzler said.
‘We want to raise awareness and encourage people to tell us their stories about this place,” Joe Hertzler added. “There are all kinds of stories about the pool.”
The Hertzlers have their own memories as longtime members. Their daughter, Antonia, now 14, has been swimming at the pool since for years.
“She was on the swim team and loved it,” Linda Hertzler said. “She had instant friends. It made us feel good that she was doing something fun.”
Improvements have already begun. A new walkway, connecting the pool with the neighboring Virginia Regional Ballet, has been constructed. Commemorative brick pavers line the entrance, and are available for sale. Standard bricks are $100, double sized are $150 and jumbo logo bricks are $200.
“All of the money raised is going directly into the enhancements,” Joe Hertzler said. 
Pine and wrought iron fencing has replaced dated chain link. The bottom of the pool has been completely resurfaced. There are plans to revamp the existing pool building, add new bathrooms, replace the pool’s concrete deck with pavers and replace stairs with a stroller-friendly ramp.
“We want to revamp it, but still keep the vintage look,” Linda Hertzler said. “We still want it to look as it does now.”
“It is very retro,” Joe Hertzler added. “It speaks to an era of construction that is very retro. The idea is to play off the sixty years of history in what we do and let the buildings tell the story of this place.”
A plastic chart in the pool house has been keeping a record of pool swimming records for decades. That will continue to be the building’s centerpiece. Trophies that have been won will be put in cases. Vintage signs will be added to give it a fun feel.
The pool is bustling from 5 a.m. each day when members of the College of William and Mary Swim Team who stay in town for the summer do their laps, to 8 p.m. when the pool closes. In the hours between, the pool comes alive with 120 member families, swim team practices and meets, and dozens of kids who take swimming lessons. There are plans for water polo lessons to be added later this summer.
Volunteers pitch in to keep the pool and the grounds looking its best.
“We have such an amazing volunteer group here,” Joe Hertzler said. “Work gets done. That’s what makes it so special. It is the Williamsburg Community Pool, with the emphasis on ‘community.’”
More—There are no residency requirement to join the pool. Fee for first time families is $295. Returning families pay $320. For information visit www.williamsburgcommunitypool.org. To find out more about the brick project, or to share stories about the pool, e-mail wcpswim@gmail.com