With the last week of summer vacation coming to an end, youth cooled off at the Gering Municipal Swimming Pool before it closed Sunday. As they splashed their friends and dove for sharks or rings, they had mixed emotions at the thought of heading back to school.

“I’m sad there will be no more swimming,” said Rylee Luce. “I like swimming. It was definitely my favorite part of the summer.”

Brodee Luce was also sad the pool was closing.

“It’s sad because then I have to be cold and sick,” Brodee said. “I like the pool because I get to see my friends and dive for the shark. I have to plug my nose to get the shark and can’t breath.”

Lifeguard Gavin Wheeler was also sad to see summer end.

“Summer was fun working here,” he said. “It went by fast and just the thought of school around the corner is crazy.”

Gavin enjoyed spending time with his fellow lifeguards and friends at the pool. During the swimming pool breaks, Gavin and his fellow pool employees enjoyed a slide session as they went down the pool slide one after another, causing a large splash when they hit the water.

“As I was going down the slide, I was trying not to have anyone hit me in the head, so my thought was to get out of the way,” Gavin said.

Sheridan Blanco, who works as the pool’s cashier, said the slide sessions were her favorite moments of the day.

“We have slide sessions on pool breaks where we’ll go down the slide quick after each other,” Blanco said. “It’s always fun. The slide is my favorite part because I can’t swim, so my feet touch the 3-foot floor right after I come off the slide.”

Friends Sam Hulbert and Ezekiel Rodriquez spent their time in the pool diving for a square-shaped ladder. “It’s fun,” Ezekiel said.

Sam added, “There’s nothing else to do, so I had to go swimming.”

With the first day of school Thursday for Scottsbluff and Friday for Gering, the friends had opposing thoughts on going back.

“I’m excited for school,” Sam said. “I’m ready to see all my friends.”

Ezekiel disagreed, stating he was not ready for summer to be over.

As the Gering pool closed its doors Sunday on what many youth and teens said was a quick summer, Blanco said her summer was filled with fun and learning.

“While we did not have many nice day and they all seem to be right now before school, I learned to go with the flow,” she said. “We weren’t always open, but it’s important to just be flexible.”

With the last echo of splashing water rippling to the edge of the pool, youth trade in their goggles for pencils as they grab their backpacks for school.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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