Pool hoppers seek water, find trouble

Photo by George Walker | The Collegian A group of pool-goers cool off in the pool at University Crossing on Monday, July 21. The temperature Monday hit a high of 105°.

Humans are just like most other animals; when it gets hot out, we naturally flock to water. Our primal instinct has become a staple of warm summer days. All around Manhattan, pool season is in full swing.

Most people choose to follow the rules and go to pools that are open to the public and only during operating hours. Others, however, have a different thrill in mind when they head out to catch some man-made waves.

Whether you prefer the term pool hopping, pool crashing or trespassing, many people’s primal instincts get the best of them. Truly, if a pool is there and it is over 100 degrees outside, it is hard to expect people to stay away for long.

Apartment complexes around Manhattan are a prime place for these defiant dippers to congregate. If you drive around town during the day time, you’re bound to see clusters of people (perhaps with drinks in hand) who have gravitated to the water in search of leisure. Some of these venues offer even more fun in the sun with volleyball, tennis or basketball courts.

The University Crossing apartment complex on College Avenue is an especially popular example. With a large number of residents and an array of amenities, someone is bound to be around the pool area at most times throughout the day, lightning-permitting. But, the UC has found a great way to deal with the threat of crashers – they recently made the pool area open to the public.

“We feel that, with as many college students who live here, they want to invite over their friends, and we want to make sure that they are able to,” Katie Gualtieri, leasing manager for the UC, said.

Though the pool area at UC is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., after-hours swimming is also a tempting adventure for some.

“We discourage any residents or guests from entering the pool area after that time for their own safety and for the consideration of residence who live near the pool area,” Gualtieri said.

Many people hold a special place in their heart for night-swimming, but doing it in public pools is not recommended. Security cameras are becoming increasingly popular to help patrol these areas after dark, and a visit from law enforcement is likely to put a damper on the evening.

Though some type of verbal warning may be the likely consequence, trespassing on private property is still a serious offense – a class B misdemeanor under Kansas law, and one that could come with a hefty fine or even jail time. All things considered, it’s probably not worth the risk.

Although you may be hard-pressed to find someone who has never taken part in such an activity in their lifetime, it is best to stick to legal means of enjoyment. Though we may not be able to ignore our animal instinct for water, we can control our actions in pursuing it.

“It is our hope that we never need to enforce any consequences and our amenities can continue to be enjoyed,” Gualtieri said.