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Cooling off on Father's Day

• 200 families celebrate the day at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center in Canyon Country

Posted: June 16, 2008 1:34 a.m.
Updated: August 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Sean Albertson of Valencia jumps off the high diving board at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, as his three children and two step-children root for him in the pool. Albertson was one of many local fathers trying to cool off from the warm summer-like weather at the swimming pool on Father's Day.

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In Southern California, gloom generally seizes the day in June, though on Father's Day Sunday, it was the perfect day to be a prune - in a swimming pool filled with laughter and family bonding.

One weekend after the last graduation in the Santa Clarita Valley and one weekend before the official start of summer, Father's Day certainly felt like milder temperatures were a thing of the past, as several families trekked from three different valleys - Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Fernando - to bid adieu to spring by sending it off with a splash at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center in Canyon Country.

About 100 children, ranging in age from 2 to teenager, filled the two public pools Sunday afternoon, spending a warm day cooling off in the pool with their beloved fathers.

Whether it was lunging off the high diving board, sliding down the twisty tube slide in the kiddie pool or just lounging out on the grassy knoll, children of all ages basked in the sun as they bonded with their fathers.

"We came up here from the San Fernando Valley to celebrate Father's Day," said Edward McKnight, who traveled from Van Nuys with his wife, Antoinette, and 4-year-old son Devon to throw splashes at each other in the kiddie pool. "This will definitely be a Father's Day for us to remember."

When fathers were not being splashed by their children, they were playing together with one of the various props in the kiddie pool or competing with each other to see who could make the biggest splashes at the diving boards.

Mothers took in the action, as well, by joining their husband and children in the pool as they cooled down from the warm, pre-summer weather.

One father who tried to impress his two children with a free fall off the high diving board was Jim Johnston of Valencia, who took several plunges into the deep end. When he took his final jump, which was actually a half-dive, his son and daughter could not help but smile and hug their mother as they watched from a few feet away.

"We're here celebrating Father's Day with the kids, the wife and grandma," Johnstone said right after he climbed out of the pool. "The kids are having fun watching me jump off the diving board."

Also diving off the high board was Sean Albertson of Valencia, who took several plunges for his three children and two step-children.

"We're having a lot of fun together," Albertson said. "This is really amazing for the kids."

Indeed, it was amazing, as there were smiles all around on Father's Day, a wet-and-wild finish to a mild spring and a prelude to the sunnier, warmer temperatures that officially arrives next weekend.

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