He has missed this.
The intoxicating smell of chlorine. The games of Marco Polo and swim tag. The sweet shock of ice cold water on a hot day.
“There is nothing better,” Christopher Flores, 11, said before he plunged into the Forest Park Pool on Sunday afternoon with his sister, Alexandra, 5. “I would swim all day if I could.”
Area pools opened for business this weekend, and happy children flocked to the water across Tarrant County for an annual rite of summer passage — the first swim of the season.
Kids jumped off diving boards and performed handstands in the water and splashed their parents. They lounged in lawn chairs or on brightly colored towels and took breaks to eat ice cream sandwiches. Lifeguards shouted “Walk” at too-eager children sprinting toward the diving board.
Flores said he and his sister spent Saturday at home, complaining about the heat, so their mother, Rosa, promised them a trip to the pool Sunday. This would be the first of many, he hopes.
“Summer means no school,” he said, “and lots of swimming.”
Nearby, Michael Serino, 4, shouted at his mom, Elizabeth, to watch his moves. He threw himself backward into the water, then reversed and belly-flopped.
Elizabeth, who held Michael’s 5-month-old brother, Anthony, said she and her family are preparing for a long trip to visit family in North Carolina. Before they leave, she wanted to fit in a swim and introduce her children to the magic of summer.
“Oh, summer,” she said. “You sit and look at the clouds and the sky. You go for long swims. And if you wake up early, it’s so beautiful and quiet.”
“Well,” she added, “at least until August.”