“All at once, like a Band-Aid!” Stacey Whitworth calls as she slips into the water. Although the city heats the junior Olympic-sized pool in the winter months and chills it during the summer, summer rains make mornings, as one woman says, “brisk.”
At 10:15, 19-year-old Veronic Abdo stands at the foot of the shallow end. She wears a workout tank top and loose black pants that have “Zumba” written on the leg. She selects a song from her iTunes, and Michael Jackson starts serenading the small crowd in the pool.
“If you don’t do exactly what I do, that’s OK,” she tells newcomers. For the next hour, Adbo will lead a heart-pumping, low-impact Zumba class from the side of the pool. In the water, her class will attempt to mimic her dance moves while working against the water’s resistance.
Zumba, touted as a “dance-fitness party” with “exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats” on its website, takes a turn for summer with Aqua Zumba classes like the one at St. Pete Beach. Creators describe the class as a “pool party,” although Saturday morning most of the group at the pool seemed focused on mimicking Abdo rather than making Margaritas.
St. Pete Beach Rec has offered Aqua Zumba for three years; the average class, according to St. Pete Beach Aquatics Coordinator Suzanne Greenfield, has 15 attendees. The city offers Aqua Zumba twice weekly in addition to three weekly water aerobics classes and one aquatic fitness class.