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Pool Draws Participants In For Lessons
From a low of 36 kids registered for the first session, swimming lessons at the Escalon community pool grew to 93 participants in session two.

After a weeklong break for the Fourth of July holiday period, lessons resumed on Monday, July 11 for session three. There is one more session, the final one, starting on July 25 and running for two weeks, Monday through Thursday.

"That first session we were really low, it was pretty cold and we had some rain," Escalon Recreation Director Bridget Gaines said of the unusual start to the summer and the session that started on June 6.

A total of 14 lifeguards work staggered shifts at the pool and all also join in to teach swimming lessons, from the youngest Mommy and Me class to the older, more advanced students. Adult lessons are offered as well.

Head lifeguards this year are Michael Beeman and Eric Metzler, with Kacey Ball and Mallory Rose serving as pool supervisors.

Gaines said after the slow start, the pool has been seeing greater numbers in recent weeks.

"As soon as the rain stopped, it went up," she said of attendance. "We're also seeing a lot more families there this year."

With temperatures over the past two weeks hitting triple digits and then cooling just slightly into the 90s, the rush has been on.

Along with the morning and afternoon lessons, the pool is open Monday through Friday for public swim from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at a cost of $2 per person.

"Lessons start at 10:30 a.m. with the last morning session at noon," said Gaines. "Afternoon lessons start at 5 p.m."

Numbers are good for all levels, from beginners to intermediate to advanced. Lifeguard-instructors also enjoy the role of teaching, Gaines said.

"They're a really great group of kids, there's a handful that are new this year and I hope they come back," she noted.

On one recent day, instructors Mary Merseth and Cory Arlt were busy with the Level 1 class of 3- to 5-year-olds in the kiddie pool, overseeing their kicking motion and how well they did their bubble blowing in the water. In the deep end of the main pool, instructor Paul Quiroz was working with Jacob Dugo, 7, to get him to jump off the side as others worked on their jumps off the diving board.

Participants in the Mommy and Me class then took to the pool with toddlers in tow, getting used to the water with the security of having mom nearby.

The fourth and final session of swimming lessons for this season starts Monday, July 25 and runs through Thursday, Aug. 4. Cost is $35 for the first child in a family and $25 for each additional child. Adult lessons, which are at 11 a.m., are $35 and the cost for Mommy and Me is $30. Deadline to register for the final session will be 4 p.m. Friday, July 22 at the recreation department, 2040 McHenry Ave.