While the umbrellas at the Waipawa pool opening were to keep the rain off, not the sun, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that gathered.

The refurbished Waipawa and Districts Centennial Memorial Pool was officially opened on Friday, after a blessing by JB Hepere-Smith and speeches from CHB mayor Alex Walker and president of the fundraising committee Bruce Stephenson.

Mayor Walker and Mr Stephenson then cut the ribbon, to cheers from the spectators, and the pool was declared open.

The originals: Jo Treacher, Jenny Baker and Sandra Wilson - from the swim team that trained at the Waipawa Pool when it first opened - swum the first lap of the refurbished pool.
The originals: Jo Treacher, Jenny Baker and Sandra Wilson - from the swim team that trained at the Waipawa Pool when it first opened - swum the first lap of the refurbished pool.

The first person to take the plunge was 13-year-old Kiana McParland, who was first into the "learners" pool. Kiana uses a wheelchair and was helped down the ramp and into the water by her elder brother Riley.

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Kiana said she normally avoids swimming as there isn't always disabled access, and the access at the Waipawa pool "will make a big difference".

Next to take to the water were three original members of the Waipawa swim club that trained at the pool after it opened in May 1962: Jenny Baker, Jo Treacher and Sandra Wilson dived in and swum the first length.

Kiana McParland, aided by brother Riley, was chosen to be first into the learners' pool.
Kiana McParland, aided by brother Riley, was chosen to be first into the learners' pool.

Jenny was one of the first into the pool on the day it opened, with her mother Joyce Baker who was poolside on Friday to enjoy the event. Joyce's late husband Cheesy Baker was one of the original swim coaches.

Then it was all on ... after a count of three, children from all over the CHB District, who were lined up all around both pools, jumped in one after the other in a co-ordinated "Mexican Dive".

The noise level raised with the sound of splashing and children's voices, and stage one of the pool's refurbishment was officially open.

Mayor Alex Walker arose to the challenge, taking her first dip in the newly refurbished pool.
Mayor Alex Walker arose to the challenge, taking her first dip in the newly refurbished pool.