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WOODLAND HILLS : Swim-a-Thon to Benefit Pierce Pool

Harry Pantelas is willing to swim laps all day long if it will help the Pierce Pool.

And the 57-year-old West Lake Village resident plans to do just that Aug. 28 when the Friends of Pierce Pool holds a fund-raiser to upgrade the Pierce College facility.

Pantelas is part of a group devoted to keeping the pool open and in good repair during a time of budget cuts.

“It means a great deal to me and a lot of people,” said Pantelas, an amateur triathlete who has been using the pool since it opened in 1978.

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Friends formed more than a year ago to reopen the dilapidated pool after Pierce College closed it in November, 1992, because of fiscal restraints, Pantelas said.

The group raised about $10,000 through a fund-raiser, he said, and the pool was reopened in June, 1993.

“We worked with the school administration,” Pantelas said. “And we showed them that there was a lot of support outside the school to keep the pool open.”

This year’s event will raise money to improve the filtering system and to install hot water heaters for the showers in the men’s and women’s locker rooms. Also in the works are plans to build an awning over the pool area for spectators.

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The school has no money to improve the facility, said Kathy Cameron, dean of administration for Pierce College.

The school currently pays for chemicals, heating the water and custodial care, Cameron said. It also pays the salary of a swimming coach and for lifeguards.

Friends has been looking at ways to produce outside revenues to the pool, said Fred Shaw, the school’s men’s and women’s swim coach. One way would be to charge a fee and allow unaffiliated groups use the pool.

Since the pool reopened last year, he said, Taft High School and El Camino Real High School have been using the facility to train.

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Shaw, who has been active in fund-raising, helped set up a masters program in which 30 advanced swimmers use the pool for $45 a month each.

The pool has also benefited from donations from area firms. Teledyne Laars in Moorpark donated a furnace last year and the National Plasterers Council, which has an office in Orange County, donated workers to fix the leaks.

At the fund-raiser, swimmers will raise money from their sponsors for each lap they swim, said Pantelas, who last year swam 500 laps and earned $700 from his sponsor and employer, Litton Systems in Woodland Hills.


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