Some learned to swim here. Others took up T-ball, dance, weight training or racquetball on these grounds. For 40 years, whatever the name— Leroy Springs Recreation Complex, Anne Springs Close Complex on the Greenway, or simply The Complex for short — has been a mainstay for area residents.
But this is not the story of a time and a place gone by — memories are still being made here every day. Recent news that The Complex may close in three years was particularly difficult for many to hear.
Grassroots efforts are being made to save the recreation center because members say this is more than a place to exercise — it’s a community. In our new series, the Fort Mill Times will journey to the heart of The Complex, to tell the stories of everyday moments that turn into lifetime bonds.
Let’s start with a longtime favorite: the indoor, Olympic-sized pool.
First in a series
On a recent Wednesday morning, the sounds of Latin music could be heard echoing down the hall from the swimming pool. It may have only been 9 a.m., but an instructor who calls herself “Jennie from the Block” was leading a full-fledged dance party at the Anne Springs Close Complex on the Greenway.
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Teacher Jennie Diaz danced along the edge of the pool while about 25 people mimicked her motions in the water. Some used foam noodles while others chose weight belts; many wore swim caps and almost all were smiling.
This workout was more difficult than it looked, Diaz explained.
“It’s harder for them to make the moves that I make because they’re resisting water. That’s the exercise — is that they are fighting the water.”
“I try to incorporate the legs, the core, the arms — just so they are moving, which is phenomenal in itself,” Diaz said. “They’re amazing. They’re not 20 years old; Let’s just say that, and they move better than the 20-year-olds. The 20-year-olds are too embarrassed to do what I do. That’s what makes it so great, is that we just have so much fun together.”
The exercise doesn’t just build muscles, but also friendships: many are together in the pool several times a week. In addition to aqua dance, classes include deep water bootcamps and water meditation. Once a month, about 100 people get invited to a post-swim-class lunch. This group calls themselves the “Pool Pals,” according to Mya Krebs of Indian Land.
Exercise together, eat together
Each month, Indian Land resident Dorene Grant sends out an email with the location of the next luncheon. Grant is the unofficial secretary of the Sunshine Club, which collects donations to send cards and gifts to members who are sick. It’s not just about the exercise, she said, but about feeling at home at the Complex.
“There’s no stranger when you come here,” she said.
The May lunch, held at Culver’s, just happened to overlap with the semi-annual beach trip, however, so the crowd was limited to about 14 people.
“We normally have 30 or more people,” Krebs said. “So many of them are out partying at the beach. Drinking margaritas, getting their buns burned.”
Krebs and her husband Charles moved here from Virginia Beach about a year ago.
“We love it,” she said.
“There’s good camaraderie in the water. My husband goes to the gym and works out in the weight room, and I come to the classes. I try to come four times a week.”
When Mya heads to swim class and Charles hits up the weight room, “We kiss at the locker room then go our separate ways,” Mya said.
And when Charles is in swim class with Mya?
“It’s good,” Charles said. “She leaves me alone and I leave her alone. It’s a big enough pool!”
The Krebs aren’t the only couple that exercises together. Willie and Tina Adams, who come to the Complex from Indian Land, said the class really helped with Tina’s recovery after a hip replacement surgery.
In fact, Tina’s hip replacement was far from the only hurdle the group has faced. Other ailments included irregular heart beats, knee replacements, rheumatoid arthritis and broken hips.
Conversation at Culver's ranged from these health updates, to where the lifeguard is going to college, to grandkids. Nancy Mayer, who is retired from CMPD and lives in Indian Land, told the group about her grandson, who is in the Marines.
“I tried to bribe him into going into the Air Force!” she joked.
“Oh hey, I got an extra pickle,” Dave Shuff said a moment later. Shuff was a recent returnee to the group, after a two-month hiatus due to some heart issues.
“That’s my pickle; It got lost in your burger,” was Willie Adams’ quick reply.
And so it went around the table, smiles and jokes and pleasant conversation. When Vickie Wachholtz mentioned she moved to Indian Land a year ago from Oklahoma and that no one around here seems to know where Oklahoma is, Willie Adams asked, “Where is Oklahoma? Is that a new country?”
A community of all ages
Frolicking in the pool may be what initially connected this group, but the sense of family goes well beyond the hour spent in the chlorine each day. A generational difference didn’t seem to be a negative factor, either.
Lois Porter, arguably the oldest member of the group, has attended aquatics classes for 26 years. “I’d be lost without the pool,” she said. “It keeps me moving without a lot of pressure. Water is better than land for me. I’m 87. I would like to have that place there until I die.”
One of the youngest group members, Cindy Carner, is 39 but she said to tell everyone she was 22.
“My friends at the pool are fun. Most of them have the wisdom that comes with age — and they provide all kinds of laughs and advice about parenting, health, and life in general. We splash each other and play like children.”
Carner brought her husband once.
“When he got into the pool, I acted like I didn't know him and told the others, ‘I'm going home with that guy!’ When (fellow class member) Phyllis figured out he was my husband, she rubbed his chest and flirted with him,” said Carner, who lives in Fort Mill.
“He thought the class would be easy — but it kicked his rear end! You really don't realize how much exercise you are getting, especially if you are laughing your way through the class.”
“Sometimes we flirt with the lifeguards. We have been known to tell Harry (the lifeguard) we have to pee in the pool to warm it up. We play tricks on each other, like cheering when someone comes in late to class,” Carner said.
“Sometimes we are too busy discussing politics and the solutions to all of the world's problems instead of exercising with the rest of the group — in that case we usually go to the back or to the deep end.”
Big smiles, burning muscles and solving the world’s problems with friends who are family — all in the big pool at The Complex. Deep, indeed.
Melissa Oyler: @melissaoyler
Want to go?
Aquatics classes at Anne Springs Close Complex on the Greenway are offered during the following days during the month of May:
Monday: Water Aerobics 9-10 a.m.
Tuesday: Water Aerobics 9-10 a.m.
Wednesday: Aqua Bootcamp 8:15-9 a.m.
Water Aerobics 9-10 a.m.
Water Aerobics 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Thursday:Water Aerobics 9-10 a.m.
Water Meditation 10-10:30 a.m.
Water Aerobics 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Deep Water Boot Camp 8:15-9 a.m.
Water Aerobics 9-10 a.m.
Open swim is also available.
Want to join?
If you’d like to join the Complex on the Greenway, membership pricing structure is below:
Young Adult (ages 15-22): $32
Adult (ages 23-59): $52
Adult Couple: $69
Single Parent Family: $59
Senior Adult (ages 60-79): $35
Senior Couple: $52
Senior 80+: $8
Membership information According to Member Services Manager Heather Stahr, the Complex membership includes use of the entire facility, which hosts:
▪ a fitness room with cardio and weight training equipment
▪ full-court gymnasium
▪ indoor six-lane, 25-yard swimming pool
▪ two children’s pools
▪ hot tub
▪ two racquet ball/handball courts
▪ six lighted tennis courts
▪ an array of fitness classes.
The Complex membership also allows access to the Anne Springs Close Greenway’s 2,100 acres of green space with 40 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.
“As you can see, there are lots of opportunities for folks of all ages in this community to engage in both indoor and outdoor recreation, experience valuable educational programming, and to just have some good old fashioned fun without ever having to leave town,” Stahr said.
Join the Complex on the Greenway here.