Daniel O’Donnell stared down at his toes as they hung over the high dive. The distance from the diving board to the water seemed much larger from this angle. He took a deep breath and mustered up all the courage a young boy could. He closed his eyes. He took a step. And off he went, down to the depths of the Millikan High School pool. That summer would go down as the year he had conquered the high-dive. Next summer, maybe he would conquer the world!
For years, a typical East Long Beach summer consisted of attending 49er Camp a CSULB, watching movies at the Los Altos Drive-In and going to Friday night open-swim at Millikan. When you are a pre-teen, getting to swim at the local high school like a “big kid” was the highlight of your summer. When you are a parent, having a safe, affordable activity for you child on a Friday night is a summer dream.
“Open swim on Friday nights at Millikan. One of the moms on the block would drive a bunch of us in the station wagon to Millikan, drop us off and then pick us up a few hours later,” remembers Daniel. “Our group of five ranged from eight to 10 years old.”
When asked about summer memories of Long Beach days past, Friday Night Open Swim at Millikan High School came up a lot. I guess when you are a pre-teen, getting to high school seems like the ultimate achievement. After all, high school has all the cool stuff. You get lockers. You change classes. You’re practically an adult. #Goals.
So, when the local high school opens up their pool on Friday nights during the summer, you go!
“I remember open swim night,” recalls Kevin O’Donnell. “It was fun because we were little kids swimming at the high school. “It made you feel like you were a ‘high schooler.’”
However, since those defining summer memories of Friday nights at the Millikan pool, many of Long Beach’s athletic facilities are fallen into disrepair and local residents’ summer swimming plans have moved on to new locations.
But there is hope. Last year Long Beach voters overwhelmingly approved Measure E, which will provide about $1.5 billion to improve infrastructures across LBUSD. Specifically, this will ensure all six Long Beach area high schools have up-to-date outdoor swimming pools!
Perhaps the summers of the future will once again include open swim nights at Millikan and other area high schools. After all, before you can conquer the world, you should start out conquering a high dive.
For current open swim times at the Millikan High School pool, visit: http://www.longbeach.gov/park/recreation-programs/aquatics/pools/millikan-high-school-pool/.