A small town inside Santa Fe, in the middle of the humid pampas, has a characteristic that makes it unique in its region. In addition, thousands of people from nearby towns come every summer weekend to enjoy these facilities.
It is one of the largest swimming pools in the country which is located Teodelina directly on the coast of the Chañar lagoon. But, the huge water mirror has a history of local entrepreneurs who dreamed big.
Teodelina is located in downtown Santa Fe a 375 kilometers from the provincial capital and 205 from Rosario. It has about 10,000 inhabitants, most of whom work in a poultry business and another in agricultural machinery. As soon as you enter the city, you can see the lagoon and the swimming pool as a continuity of water in which the coastal maquis is reflected.
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The origin myth of the swimming pool
In 1966 a road near the town was being paved and an engineer came up with the idea for the swimming pool. It was like a flash of his mind and suddenly, as he looked at the Chañar lagoon, he imagined this huge mirror of water that the neighbors could enjoy.
Leoncio Scardellato He is 75 years old and was born in Teodelina. This man who usually runs along the coast of the lagoon knows first hand the history of the spa. “In August 1966, the engineer García stood in front of the lagoon and said here that a swimming pool had to be built”, recalls the man in dialogue with GlobeLiveMedia. You have to take advantage of the road machines that make the course. He spoke with the mayor at the time who gave him the ok. Thus, he counted the steps in length and in width. He made the demarcation and began the excavations”.
The water mirror measures 150 meters by 40 meters and an average depth of 1.50 meters so that everyone can enjoy it without danger. These are 9 million liters of salt water which are extracted from the basement of the city thanks to five pumps.
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Everything was thought out by Garcia the moment you started digging for your dream pool. Later, the administration was in charge of the local community. From the community they do the annual check of the pumps, the painting of the swimming pool and the change of the water which is given twice a week to prevent it from turning green due to rain or verdigris. gray at the bottom.
The job was done in record time and the following summer (1967) already saw the opening of the first season of Teodelina. At that time, we were already talking about one of the largest basins in Argentina and South America, in the humid pampas of Santa Fe.
The next three years, after construction, were pure growth for the village. This new industry without chimneys is added to the poultry and agricultural machinery companies. In the years 1968, 69 and 70 folk festivals were held with the lagoon and the huge basin as a backdrop.
“They passed by here Astor Piazzola, The Chalchaleros and Horace Guarany, among others – recalls Scardellato-. It was a party on a level very close to that of Cosquín”.
In dialogue with GlobeLiveMedia, Secretary of Tourism of Teodelina, Hernán Quarter, explains that “a great commercial movement has been generated around the spa. It’s not just a swimming pool. There are grills, campsites, football, rugby and volleyball courts. It is a place for the whole city and also for weekend visitors.
Every Saturday and Sunday in summer about 10,000 people They often take advantage of the spa facilities. “Almost what the whole town of Teodelina would be like,” says Ward. Thus, bars, butchers and even shops, almost all very close to the swimming pool, are moving.
On weekends, entry to the swimming pool costs 1,000 pesos per person and on weekdays 200 and children up to 12 years old do not pay entry. “These are very popular prices that help bring many people from neighboring towns and localities on weekend tourism,” says the Teodelina manager. Also the idea that minors are confined to this place instead of walking around the city alone. Here, they play sports and can even learn to swim with lessons during the week”.
Scardellato was a pool lifeguard for 10 years. The whole town passed by. From your high chair to see almost the entire pool. I saw how the different actors in Teodelina interacted. Mate rounds and talks. Discussions and who had withdrawn the greeting of a neighbor due to a daily problem. “It was very nice to spend the day in the pool and be grilled all summer and not suffer from the heat,” the man recalls.
Some 45 people work to maintain the pool and spa year-round. Added to this are temporary outside workers during the summer. This is how you reach about 100 employees. From December to March, the city lives from and for the swimming pool. Everyone in its streets gathers either to cool off or to drink friends at sunset at the campsite with a view of the lagoon. The season ends with the city triathlon which takes place on March 12.
The idols of Teodelina
There are two athletes who are the maximum referents of the city. The closest is Diego good night, a former River who currently plays in Chile’s first division of football. “Whenever he’s on vacation, Diego trains at the campsite to stay in shape,” says Ward.
Meanwhile, the maximum idol of Teodelina which even has a statue on the coast of the lagoon is the pelotari Oscar Messina, known as the “one-armed”, who was one of the standout paddleball stars of the 1930s. “For many years the town was known only for this athlete. As is the case with Messi or Maradona and Argentina -recalls Scardellato-. Here we have two pediments and even the boys play”.
The passions of the people are shared between the Local Racing Club and Teodelina Football Club. Each time a clásico is played, the game starts earlier in the local pool. “There are Chicanas and some charged, but never violence,” Ward explains. Thus, the dream of the engineer García came true and it became the center of the inhabitants of this small town in the pampas of Santa Fe who wait every summer for the opening of the swimming pool.