Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2001

Residents encouraged

June 7, 2001

The water waits at 70 degrees, even though the outside temperature hovers closer to 60. The public pool is ready for kids and adults alike to sharpen their swimming skills and get in shape for summer, even if the thermometer isn't.

"We're going to try our best to keep it open until Labor Day," recreation director Dianna Beebe said.

Beebe, along with pool manager Tracy Manweiller, often carries a beeper-sized Lightning Strike Alert system that records lightning as far away as 60 miles. The pool shuts down if lightning is within six miles.

Keeping swimmers safe this summer will be an integral part of pool activities that range from exercise to swimming lessons to pool parties, which can be arranged after regular pool hours.

Dedicated exercisers who call ahead can swim laps or participate in other water exercise from 6:30 a.m. until lessons begin at 8 a.m.

Swimming classes, which begin Monday, are offered in four two-week-long sessions and a Saturday-only session that runs until July 14. Registration forms are available at several locations. Cost is $25 per session.

The ability levels range from T1 classes, for infants up to 18 months of age, to Guard Start, a three-week session that prepares swimmers 14 and under for lifeguard duties and training.

"It gives (Guard Start students) some ideas about what it takes (to be a lifeguard)," Beebe said.

Beebe is in the process of making sure that all of her instructors know the new American Red Cross standards. Lifeguard training took place last week.

"The American Red Cross has pretty good standards and teaches you endurance and other skills," Beebe said.

Beebe hopes that the pool will eventually be able to offer Water Safety Instruction classes, which certify swimming teachers. Eudora swimming instructors must go to Lawrence or Johnson County for training.

But instructors aren't the only ones who get a good safety lesson.

"It's not just learning to swim, but a lot of safety things when they take swimming lessons," Jan Stegelman, Kansas SAFE KIDS Coalition coordinator, said. "They learn safety habits, like not running and pushing others into the water."

According to the coalition, about 85 percent of accidents involving kids ages one to four are pool related, and year to year, drowning ranks in the top three or four unintentional injuries. Stegelman said summer is often referred to as "trauma season."

Although swimming lessons may provide kids with a strong background in water safety, it won't drown-proof them, she said.

"Obviously we want them to be able to swim, but you still need to have these other things in place," she said.

Stegelman said supervision plays an integral part in keeping kids safe around water.

But with summer's stormy start, keeping an eye on the sky will play an important part in keeping swimming lessons safe and productive.

"We'll at least try to guarantee nine of 10 days," Beebe said of each session. "We want to offer as much as we can."

Erinn Barcomb can be reached at ebarcomb@eudoranews.com

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