Saturday, July 2, 2016

Swimming lessons at Ambridge Borough Pool

While I practically lived at the pool during the summers, I detested swimming lessons which were always given in the morning before the pool opened for public swimming. The air was cool; the water was cold. Not too long after I'd get in the pool, I'd be shivering. And by the end of class, my teeth might be chattering and my lips blue.

Swimming lessons at the Ambridge pool
Daily Citizen
late 1950s ? *
news clipping courtesy of Borough of Ambridge

Citizen caption:
FISH FLOAT -- Joseph Strano, the swimmer, going through the "Jelly Fish Float" at the Ambridge Swimming Pool as the first of two classes completed their "scooling" (sic) Friday morning. The instructors are Richard Lebec, left, and Jerry Hochevar, right.
By the time my mother signed me up for lessons, I was already a fairly good swimmer and a champion floater, thanks to the hours I previously had spent in the pool. But during the lessons, I did learn the breast stroke, and the not-in-the-Olympics -- but with modification, useful for lifesaving and Navy Seal training -- side stroke.

I'd walk to the pool for the the dreaded lessons. Then I'd have to walk home, only to walk back to the pool again after it opened later that day for swimming that was fun.

In 1958, swimming lessons at the pool were free, but registration for lessons was $0.50. By the 1960s, the registration fee had been raised to $1.00.

Ambridge borough swimming pool
early to mid 1960s**
Beaver County Times ?
news clipping courtesy Borough of Ambridge

original caption:
BEATING THE HEAT - Ambridge swimming pool had one of its busiest days Tuesday when 1,000 persons took a dip in order to beat the heat. Steve Solomich, pool manager, announced that new swimming classes will start Monday and conclude next Friday. A class for children aged 9 - 11 will be conducted from 9 to 10 a.m. and children seven and eight years of age will receive instructions from 10 to 11 a.m. Registrations will be accepted at the pool Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. The registration fee is $1. Parents must register their children. No registrations will be accepted by phone. Similar classes are being held this week.

* The Borough news clipping was dated only "1960." I don't have the date this photo was published in the Daily Citizen, confirmed by the "DC" watermark. But the Citizen stopped publication on June 30, 1959, so this clipping cannot be from 1960 or later.

** This Borough news clipping also was dated only "1960," and its source was unidentified. The Beaver County Times is my best guess, but I've been unable to find the photo to confirm that. Steve Solomich, mentioned in the caption. was pool manager in the early and mid-1960s, which helps narrow the years the photo might have been published.


  1. jd aka john domansky

    there was an allan hochevar at divine redeemer school in the 1940s

  2. My name is Dave Solomich and I am the son of Steve Solomich. Dad said that his first summer as the manager at the pool was 1959. He was the manager for approx. 10 years. Hopefully, this may help with dating the photos.

    1. Thanks so much for the information about your dad. I worked at the pool for two of the years he was there, 1966 and '67. I believe '67 may have been his last year.