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Pool Is Place To Be
Summer Fun
Five-year-old Ava Girardi plugs her nose and gets ready to take the plunge, jumping off the diving board into the deep end of the pool during swimming lessons. Equipped with floaties, there was also a swim instructor waiting for the youngster, should she need help in the deep end. Marg Jackson/The Times


As the summer temperatures reach into the upper 90s in the Central Valley, there’s no better place to go than the community pool. Not only does it provide a respite from summer’s heat, it can also be a place of great learning, as swimming lessons continue through the rest of this week.

There have been well-attended sessions, two weeks long each, of the swimming lessons, with multiple levels of instruction offered from beginning to advanced. Levels 1 through 6 were offered in sessions that ran from June 15 through 25; June 29 through July 9 and the final session, going on now, starting July 13 and running through July 23. Mommy and Me has also given toddlers the chance to get introduced to the pool with a parent alongside them, and youngsters are learning skills in the pool while cooling off and getting some exercise.

A recent class day saw swimmers from Level 1, roughly ages 3 to 5, and Level 2, roughly ages 7 to 9, getting in some work during the breezy morning hours. Lessons are scheduled around the pool’s regular Open Swim hours, offered in the morning and early evening hours. Open Swim is available Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at a cost of $2 per person. The pool will be open through Friday, Aug. 7.

Mom Amanda Cox said she was very pleased with the lessons, noting daughter Kaylynn McCutcheon, 5, was diving in with both feet.

“She’s learning a lot, the teachers are doing really well with her,” Cox said.

For young Alivia Mitchell, 4, it took a little more convincing to give the pool a try.

“It is her first time,” explained mom Carolyn Mitchell, noting that her daughter did get into the deep end with her life vest on and worked on her kicks, holding on to the edge of the pool.

Three out of Jennifer Barker’s four children are in lessons, with six-year-old Rachelle in her second year.

“I want her to learn how to swim, this has helped her a lot already,” Barker said, noting that swimming is a skill she wants all her children to have.

Pool supervisor and head swim instructor Ian Fitzgerald said lessons have gone extremely well and the pool itself has also been steadily busy.

“This is one of our best summers on record,” he said of lesson participation. “Our biggest (open swim) day was 126 kids, that was on June 26.”

Certain days also feature scheduled visits from the area’s child care centers, so that helps keep attendance steady. Weather also plays a factor, he said, with overcast days seeing lower numbers but high temperatures at or above the mid-90s usually guaranteeing a full pool.