21 YEARS YOUNG & STILL GOING STRONG

Dolphin Continues to Deliver for the Kerr Family

By Christine G. Adamo

Olivia Kerr calls her Dolphin robotic pool cleaner “a lifesaver.” When I got on the phone with Olivia, I could hear her husband of 53 years, Bennie, excitedly offering clarification in the background. The story I was after involved the Kerrs’ Maytronics Dolphin Model # 2001.

Olivia and Bennie Kerr (pictured) bought their Maytronics Dolphin Model # 2001 in 1996 ... and they still use it today!

The Kerrs bought their Dolphin Model # 2001 in 1996 and it’s still going strong! (Image courtesy Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

They purchased that unit 21 years ago, in 1996, from In The Swim pool supply. Their order was fulfilled by Michigan-based Water Specialties. The Kerrs still have the original box their automatic pool cleaner came in, along with assorted brochures, invoices, etc.

“I hope people who read this believe it’s a true story,” Olivia said. “I know that, if I were reading it, I’d hardly believe it!”

As our conversation wound down and as if on cue, FedEx came calling. Bennie shouted to me, from near where Olivia sat, “You’ve brought us good luck!” It turns out FedEx was delivering a new Dolphin DX6—courtesy of Maytronics.

“Where’s Bennie now?” Olivia asked a few minutes later, audibly shifting in her seat to search for him. “Oh, he’s out on the back patio opening it up right now! As far as I’m concerned, Maytronics makes a great product.”

The Kerrs open their pool on Memorial Day, as summer approaches. They close it in mid-October after, Olivia says, “letting the pool temperature drop” so that the chemicals they use to treat the water off-season can be their most effective. Clearly, responsible pool ownership matters to this dynamic duo.

That’s because they, their friends and several generations of family use the Kerrs’ 22-by-40 ft., kidney-shaped, modified Mountain Lake in-ground residential swimming pool at least three or four times a week. Its rounded corners and wide, shallow end are well-suited to beginners who need, as Olivia notes, “space to play.”

Friends and several generations of family use The Kerr Family pool in Virginia, pictured here. (Image courtesy of Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

Friends and several generations of family use The Kerr Family pool in Lorton, Virginia. (Image courtesy Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

“Our nephew was 2 when we had the pool put in,” she says. “He’s 40 now. From infant to adult, everyone has used this pool. We’ve had lots of pool parties over the years.

“(Bennie) was on a softball team and people would come over after the games to swim. Everyone in the family who has birthdays in the summer months holds their birthday parties here. There are two in July and one in August.”

The couple often hosts 35-40 folks at a time.

“Our family has grown up using this pool. It’s a tradition, birthday parties included. We take care of the decorations, set up the tables and open the umbrellas.”

Still, why buy a Dolphin, specifically?

“My husband and I both worked. Bennie worked long hours. I worked in DC. It’s quite a commute; two hours one way, despite the fact that we only live six or eight miles away. We didn’t have much time to ourselves. The weekend was the only time we got to enjoy our pool, which was installed (in) 1979.”

“It came with a push vacuum, so we didn’t really have time to enjoy it. We were too busy cleaning and maintaining it. Sundays—that was about it! We hand vacuumed the pool until Bennie said, ‘Let’s get a vacuum. I’ll mow and by the time that’s done the pool will be clean.’ (Our Dolphin) gets used several times a week and has been a time saver for him. He even had it in there yesterday!”

The Kerrs have even saved this Water Specialties Dolphin-related newsletter from the 1990s. (Image courtesy of Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

The Kerrs saved a Dolphin newsletter sent by Water Specialties in the 1990s. (Image courtesy Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

He slipped it in the pool, mowed and voila. Clean pool water! When asked which words best describe their backyard Dolphin experience, neither Oliva nor Bennie hesitated:

• “Time saver”
• “Easy to use”
• “Very durable”
• “Easy to clean”
• “Does a great job”

“It makes us feel wonderful that we don’t have to stand up there pushing a vacuum,” Olivia confessed. “It’s still got the original (filter) bag in it, which cleans up the fine pieces. We have a lot of trees, in our backyard, which create bigger pieces of debris. We’ve also had no problem getting parts.

“In fact, Bennie just replaced the track on the container.”

Olivia simply googled Maytronics and then called the company’s Georgia office, telling me, “That’s how I started talking with Charlotte.” That’d be Charlotte DeBose, a member of Maytronics’ Consumer Services team.

“We have never, ever gotten such great customer service. When we called her about the parts (Bennie wanted), she told me Maytronics doesn’t sell them directly. She also said, ‘Let me check with our Tech Dept. I’ll call you back.’ I thought, yeah, right. But she went over and above, being helpful and polite without acting put out.”

“You don’t get that anymore. Everyone should have an employee like her.”

What should folks shopping for Dolphin pool cleaning robots know?

“Purchasing one is a great idea. They’re a benefit and we’ve just had such good luck. These days you often have to wonder about what you’re buying, but you can’t go wrong. They’re well-made and the price is reasonable for what you get. It does a great job and is self-contained. All of the debris goes in the bag versus in your pool filter.”

“It gives us more time to enjoy the pool, rather than spend our whole weekend working on it.”

The Kerrs still have their original Dolphin Model # 2001 robot warranty from 1996. (Image courtesy Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

The Kerrs still own their original Dolphin Model # 2001, the box it came in and its warranty from 1996. Now that’s dedication! (Image courtesy Olivia & Bennie Kerr)

Will their robot last as long as their marriage has?

“Well, we were married in 1964, but Bennie sure hopes so. Did you hear that? He just said, ‘By now, it’s paid for itself and doesn’t owe us a thing!’ There’s no telling how long something will last.

“Your car will last a lifetime, if you change the oil and take care of it. My husband takes excellent care of our Dolphin. There was one on Craig’s List recently and he started to buy it—just to have a backup.”

The Kerrs, now retired, relish their time at home poolside.

“If we want to go to the beach, we have to drive three or four hours to Maryland. Yet a lot of times, when you go away, you wind up in the pool versus the ocean anyway. I prefer our pool because I know it’s clean! We used to go on cruises or out to Las Vegas. We’re active, but it’s a hassle to travel and fly anymore.”

Instead, when he’s not home, Bennie enjoys car shows. He’s even built a motorcycle and a grandfather clock. Olivia sometimes goes to Myrtle Beach to take in the shows. They also regularly enjoy time together and time spent with family or friends. Olivia turned 71 this June and Bennie turns 75 in September.

“We’re still moving,” Olivia says, “so that’s a good thing.”

Long live The Kerrs and their 1996 Dolphin!