Pools in America

Download Audio
It's officially summertime today, and we all want a dip in the pool. But which pool?

In their heyday, at their best, America's public swimming pools were cool, blue pleasure zones where happy kids and adults of all stripes showered down and splashed in. But just as often, they were cultural battlegrounds — over unwashed immigrants, race, gender, class, and public sexuality.

Now, many are closed and America likes to swim in private pools. But in the joyous echoes of kids at play, there is a big story in America's swimming pools.

This hour On Point: the birth of a nation, at the pool.Guests:

Jeff Wiltse, professor of history at the University of Montana, author of "Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America"

Erika Taylor, editor of Pool and Spa magazine

Sabir Muhammad, national advocate for promoting swim instruction for inner-city youth and non-swimming parents, and the first African-American to set an individual national swimming record.

This program aired on May 26, 2008.


More from On Point

Listen Live