Profiles
Barnick5

Steve Barnick

Swimmer and President of Friends of Barton Springs Pool

Culture

The sunrise; the sun traverses north to south during the summer and it rises at the end of the pool making for a different setting every morning. The pictures I take are typically during the peak times when it rises at our near the center of the downstream dam. The way the light plays on the pool during these times is a never-ending parade of fascination and happiness for me.

Back in 2006 we started FBSP and we were trying to learn everything we could about the pool. A lot of that was done during the volunteer pool cleaning efforts but it soon became apparent that there was a wide cross section of folks that visited the pool during special times in the day. My experiences back then were during the heat of the day when it was the most crowded but the vocal groups that we were encountering at our outreach meetings were daily swimmers. I decided I needed to experience and meet these folks so I started going down to the pool at 5:30 am. I met a lot of interesting people and learned even more about the passion of the daily swimmer.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015. After my time on the board and as FBSP President (2006-2009) I took a break from the pool. I remained a vocal advocate for the pool but only when called upon and I never stopped volunteering. I picked swimming up again in the summer of 2015 and I decided swimming in the dark was not my thing, the notion of sunrise swimming started then. There is a passion that overwhelms you when you spend multiple days at the pool you settle into habits and I missed the feeling of that experience it was time to get wet again.

The walk down from the south parking lot. A lot of time and energy went into the development of the south side ADA trail and as a advocate for Friends of Barton Springs Pool I am very proud of the accomplishments that resulted in that trail. I take great pleasure in walking from the parking lot through the south entrance and down that beautiful trail. It sets the tone for the entire sunrise experience.

My little spot next to the diving board; I do not know why I chose this place, maybe being close to the diving board and directly across from all the folks that enter the pool from the north it just seems like the place to be. I am never in a hurry I sit listen, watch what is happening with other swimmers, the birds. It is my time to be the observer, and of course take pictures.

The sunrise; the sun traverses north to south during the summer and it rises at the end of the pool making for a different setting every morning. The pictures I take are typically during the peak times when it rises at our near the center of the downstream dam. The way the light plays on the pool during these times is a never-ending parade of fascination and happiness for me.

The swim downstream the sun is blinding, I swim to the shadows and spend most of the time looking for fish. I am not into the swim for a workout although I am in better shape because of it for sure. My swim is like a walk in the park. I jump in, swim to my snorkel and goggles strap them on and from the moment I lower my head into the water I am totally absorbed by what is going on underwater.

At the dam I take a break and look downstream and soak in the sun. I do a bit of stretching then I put my mask on and start heading back. The upstream swim is an entirely different experience, the light is behind you and the rays of sunlight are all around you. You get a better chance to really see things in the pool.

The diving board, to finish my swim I do one dive and one feet first jump. I try to do them in my mind as perfectly as I can. Nothing fancy I walk to end of the board look around take a deep breath and dive or jump off no bouncing just clean and simple. My feet first jump is punctuated with a curl while in the water so that my feet stick out of the air and I am completely upside down under the water. I need to get a picture of that...:)

My time out of the pool after the swim is all about hanging out, drying off and just really soaking in the sun and everything that surrounds me that day.

The rituals and the feeling of entitlement as a daily swimmer that instills so much passion. At your last screening you had a piece on the fact that generations of people have made the springs part of their daily experience. You exposed to me the notion that I am just another example of a person who has developed a love for a daily swim in the pool. There is a sort of selfishness that comes with being a daily swimmer, you get used to the tranquility, the people you meet, the rituals that encompass your experience every day. When that is interrupted, whether it be a large group of loud high school kids that pierce the silence with their youth and energy, or a group of folks screaming "snake...snake" to a couple of swimmers or even a FBSP advocate wanting to preserve the pool for generations to come. You are challenged by the threat of a change in what you have come to love about the pool. As always whenever I try to dig deeper into this place we call Barton Springs Pool I learn something new. Becoming a daily swimmer at sunrise is just another lesson in that pursuit.

Being FBSP President again, I took on the role of president in April of this year. It was an offer I could not refuse. Mike was burning the candle at both ends with BSC and FBSP and I really liked the place FBSP was in concentrating more on volunteer cleaning and advocating for the pool. Mike is doing some great things with BSC and for my part I am along for the ride. My hopes are that my insights being a daily swimmer, and a volunteer at the pool will provide me with the leadership to take FBSP into the future.