Rosemary Hollow remembers learning to swim in the 1950s and '60s at what was "the social centre of the inner south".
On Saturday morning, her love of Manuka Pool continued when she was one of the first through the gate as the historic venue reopened for its 89th swimming season.
The pool opened for the season a month later than usual after undergoing a $2.42 million facelift, which included re-tiling, new poolside seating, filtration upgrades and a coat of paint for the building.
The restorations were done with the heritage-listed pool's original design in mind, with the new tiles specially sourced from the Czech Republic to match the originals.
"It's been worth the wait, especially for the re-tiling," said Ms Hollow, an early morning lap swimmer who visits the pool four or five times a week during swimming season.
The honour of being the first to dive into the restored pool went to the incoming Friends of Manuka Pool president, Rebecca Scouller, who was one of about 20 people lined up out the front of the pool before it opened at 8am on Saturday.
She said she was really happy with how the pool was looking, especially with the original "shallow" and "deep" markings back on the tiles at either end of the pool.
"I've been coming since I moved to Canberra, so since about 2005," Ms Scouller said.
"It's my favourite place in all of Canberra. It's the one place I find really relaxing and tranquil, and where I get to spend some me time."
Ms Scouller said Manuka Pool was also a very social place, with the Friends of Manuka Pool group forming as a result of people talking across lanes as they got in and out of the pool.
She said when people saw each other outside the water for the first time, they would commonly joke: "I didn't recognise you with clothes on".
Manuka Pool manager Bryan Pasfield also gave the facility's upgrades a thumbs-up, saying he had heard nothing but good things from those who turned up early on Saturday.
"It's awesome," he said.
"The water's turning over and it's absolutely crystal clear."
A number of families with young children visited the pool on Saturday, when Canberrans were treated to free entry to celebrate the reopening.
Among them were Saami and Sufyan Hanson, aged two and three, who enjoyed a dip with dad Toby.
This would have pleased Chief Minister Andrew Barr, who said the refurbishments would ensure the pool could be enjoyed by families for generations to come.
Mr Barr said the ACT government was committed to making sure Canberra remained one of the world's most liveable cities.
"We hope to see many Canberrans visiting Manuka Pool to escape the heat this summer - taking part in swimming lessons, doing a few laps or catching up with friends and family," he said.
Having first opened on Australia Day in 1931, Manuka Pool is still used by more than 30,000 visitors every swimming season.