Two take home pools after 80 hours in water

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Sheila Mantz, left, the winner of a 24-foot swimming pool, and Debbie

McCarthy, who won an 18-foot pool, show the effects of 80 hours in a pool.

After 80 hours of floating, then wading, then floating some more, two competitors called it quits and each went home as a swimming pool winner Monday afternoon.

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Debbie McCarthy, 43, and Sheila Mantz, 47, had been in a 24-foot, above-ground pool on the parking lot of Big Kmart on Pemberton Boulevard since Friday morning, each vowing to wait out the other and four other competitors.

When the last two dug in their heels, saying they had no plans of being the first out, organizers kicked in another pool to end the contest.

“We figured by Sunday it would have all been over with,” said Tim Beard, owner of Paradise Pools and Spas, who made the decision Monday to give both finalists pools.

Mantz was awarded a 24-foot pool, and McCarthy, an 18-foot model after the two drew straws for the larger one.

“Actually, it hasn’t been that bad,” McCarthy said, despite having raisin skin and losing part of a toenail to the water.

“The worst time was between 2 and 6 in the morning,” Mantz said. “It was cold, lonely and wet.”

And wet they stayed for the three-day ordeal with 15-minute breaks every three hours at the beginning of the contest and 5-minute breaks every four hours by the final day.

Of the original six contestants, four had gone home at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Mantz and McCarthy said they planned to stay for their husbands, both of whom suffer from nerve disorders in the legs and could swim for therapy.

After the contest was called, each of the women said she planned to get wet again when she got home taking a bath and washing hair. And each said she’d like to have a pool party for the original six contestants and their families.

The contest was sponsored by Paradise Pools and Spas, River 101, River City Honda, Bell’s Ice, Oak Creek Village, Sheffield Rental, Heggins Portable Buildings, Egremont B-B-Q, Clear Choice Security, Wags Pet Grooming, Alfa Insurance, Lance’s Texaco, Check Into Cash, Baker Security, Big K and Burnett Marketing.