But something was amiss.
The refuge of cool bliss was actually a pool of green, cloudy water. The water was so murky that the boy couldn't find an object he was searching for at the bottom of the pool. He popped his head out and announced: "I still can't find it."
Such problems are not unusual.
A Los Angeles Times analysis of more than 16,000 swimming pools inspected by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health -- at places such as apartment buildings, hotels and motels, schools, condominium complexes and health clubs -- found that 10% were closed at least once by the agency over the last 3 1/2 years. (The analysis excludes pools in Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon, cities that have their own public health departments and are not inspected by the county.)
Pools at apartment buildings and motels were closed at rates above the county average for all inspected pools.
Closures often occur because the water has turned cloudy or green, a sign that it lacks enough disinfectant. Such pools can easily spread bacteria or microscopic parasites that can cause illness.
Other reasons for closures by county inspectors include problems that may pose a risk for electrocution, or a broken, loose or missing cover for the pool's main drain. A swimmer could stick an arm or leg in the drain, become trapped and drown.
Follow-up visits to six of the eight most frequently closed pools (at least five times since 2005, according to county records) by a reporter and photographers for The Times last week found three with murky or green water. Two had already been closed voluntarily by the apartment complexes' managers, but that wasn't the case at the Highland Riviera, a complex in Highland Park.
On June 24, a Times photographer saw the boy swimming in cloudy water. Julio Duran, an apartment manager, denied to a reporter that there had been any recent problems with the pool and described the water as clear.
In a subsequent telephone interview, Duran's wife, Maria, who is also a manager, said she was unaware that the pool was murky. She said the pool had not been closed by the county for 18 months and said the earlier closures by the county were due to a tenant who tampered with an electrical panel that shut down the pool's circulating system.
According to county records, the pool was last closed in September 2006. (Pools that are cited for closure are subject to reinspection days or weeks later. County inspectors closed the Highland Riviera pool March 29, 2005; April 25, 2006; Aug. 10 and 17, 2006; and Sept. 5 and 14, 2006. Reasons for closure included algae and cloudiness in the pool. Two of the official closures were imposed because inspectors were unable to gain access to the pool.)
Public health officials say that they try to inspect every pool once a year, but understaffing means visits come an average of every 18 months.
Most pools are clean most of the time, but under the wrong circumstances, water can become cloudy within a couple of hours, said Bernard Franklin, program manager for Los Angeles County's Swimming Pool Program, which oversees more than 16,000 pools.
"You could come to a pool at 8 a.m. and it could be cloudy at noon," Franklin said. "On hot days . . . if you get too many people in the pool, it uses up the chlorine pretty quickly."
On the other hand, a pool that has had a poor track record isn't necessarily unsafe now.
Low chlorine levels and cloudy pool water can be dangerous and have been linked with illness or accidental death.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the summer of 1988, 44 people contracted diarrhea after using a swimming pool at a school in Los Angeles County where a swimmer accidentally defecated in the water. The outbreak continued for several weeks until one of the pool's three filters was fixed.
Some of the swimmers were diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis, a disease caused by a microscopic parasite that infects swimmers when they swallow water contaminated with infected fecal matter.