Where Trump takes a dip

12 June 2018

Even the President of the United States and his family like to swim every now and again and often do so - in their very own backyard pool!

President Gerald Ford had the outdoor swimming pool built at the White House in 1975. In 1976, a pool house was added — with a secret, underground passage that lets the First Family and their guests get from the White House to the pool without going outside. Ford decided on an outdoor pool because he didn't want to evict the White House press corps in order to refurbish the existing indoor swimming pool that lay beneath the Press Briefing Room.

The original indoor pool has been built in 1933, following a public campaign that raised money for its construction as a way to honour and assist then President Franklin D Roosevelt who swam as part of the therapy for his polio. The pool was well utilised by Mr Roosevelt and a number of other President until it was covered over in 1970 to make way for the Press Briefing Room as the demands of the media and technology grew.

When the new outdoor pool was completed to replace the indoor one, President Ford showed it off for the press and continued to use it frequently. Jack Ford immediately took scuba diving lessons in it. A cabana was later added to provide a changing area and showers and to screen the pool from the West Wing.

Later, Amy Carter practiced her diving technique here. Barbara Bush was one of the pool's most frequent users, despite once having discovered a rat sharing the water. Hillary Clinton also enjoyed it (although she had considered renovating the indoor pool and moving the press to a new facility). The Clintons also installed an outdoor spa.

In 2002, as part of usual renovations and a new effort to make the White House more efficient, the cabana was renovated: extra were windows added, the roof was raised, and a solar array was put on top.

The solar thermal array uses water heated in pipes by the sun; not photovoltaic cells creating electricity. It provides hot water to the cabana. What is not used there is used to heat the outdoor spa installed by the Clintons. Remaining heat is used to help heat the pool.

The solar array was designed to blend in with the roof of the cabana and, even on close inspection, appear no more obtrusive than a skylight. James Doherty, an architect with the National Park Service White House Liaison Office, managed the solar installations.

Since the White House grounds were designated a national park, the NPS has responsibility for and jurisdiction over the lawn, gardens, and buildings. Additional solar arrays were added to the maintenance building in the southwest corner of the South Lawn, directly south of the swimming pool.

It's good to know the President and the First family utilise the swimming pool, combined with an eco-friendly heating system – however, I don’t know if there would be many takers to see Trump in his trunks!

For information on keeping your home pool well maintained this winter click below!

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