Swimmers head to Barton Springs Pool for reopening


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

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Posted on March 30, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 15 at 7:47 PM

AUSTIN -- It's been 15 long weeks since Barton Springs Pool die-hards have been able to take a dip.

"I went into withdrawal. I so missed it," said Linda Eldredge who has been swimming in the pool since 2002.

Kurt VanderMeulen turned to another swimming hole. "Well we swam in Deep Eddy, back and forth, back and forth in a small concrete pool," he said. He was not a fan. 

Now it's back to the serene, 70 degree temperature spring water.

The "Jewel of Austin" closed back in December so that crews could make repairs to the concrete culvert that runs along the side of the pool. The bypass is supposed to keep water from Barton Creek from mixing with the spring water in the pool, but city officials say the 39 year old tunnel had cracks and holes causing a danger to the pool's elevation and the ground around it.

"The holes in the bypass, it was causing sink holes in the ground. So they have those fixed now and we have more areas, more shaded areas for people to sit," said Barton Springs Pool Program Specialist Jennifer Cabay.

The repairs cost about $2.9 million and should last 25 years.

Cabay said crews worked until 10:00 Friday cleaning the pool but the work was well worth it to see some of the familiar faces back at the pool Saturday morning. 

"We had a large group of regulars this morning," Cabay said. "It was great to see all of them this morning, coming back to the spring since we've been closed."

"This is just a healing sacred place. It's just a beautiful place to be," said Eldredge. 

And the chance to be back in the water for the first time in months, even on a cloudy day, is something the regulars say they wouldn't miss.

"When you're a Barton Springs swimmer, it doesn't matter what the temperatures are outside. It's always a good swim," said VanderMeulen.