It is common knowledge that the first pool game was invented by the noted blind explorer Marco Polo. But play time by the pool has changed dramatically since the days of that great pioneer of water fun. In the spirit of that Italian great, we asked local pool aficionados to weigh in on their favorite modern pool pastimes.

Crystal Clear Pool and Spa manager Eric D’Angelo likes to be active when he is in the pool. He chooses to set up a volleyball net across the water and go at it Meet the Parents style.

Paradise Pool and Spa manager Susie Boomhower also fancies a land sport in the water. She notes pool golf as a fun activity. From dry land, players shoot at a pin on a floating green as it drifts around the pool. But she notes kids prefer diving games, collecting rings and glow sticks like they’re on an episode of Hoarders.

Pool games can also be helpful. Just as Marco Polo proved they can help with navigation, Byron Rounds has shown games can help children learn how to swim. As aquatic manager for the City of Charleston Recreational Department, Rounds uses games like Red Light-Green Light and Simon Says to distract children from the fact that they are in the water. “Teachers are encouraged to utilize games to teach swimming skills,” explains Rounds. “If they are focused on figuring out a movie title or word, they aren’t focused on their fear of the water.” The Martin Luther King Pool has used this philosophy to teach a countless number of children how to swim.

Whether you want to stay active, find sunken treasure, or learn how to swim, pool games come in many varieties with varying purposes. But one thing is for sure, we have the great Marco Polo to thank for them all.

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