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Summer’s Heat Sees Kids Happy To Plunge Into Pool
In The Swim
Escalon Pool Supervisor and swim instructor Lexi Wheeler leads a group of her Level 1 swimmers back into the shallow end after spending time working on kicks and floating in the deep end, utilizing life jackets or floaties to maintain buoyancy. Marg Jackson/The Times

With swimming lessons offered both in the morning and afternoon, sandwiched around some open public swimming sessions, the Escalon Community Pool is a busy place this summer.

No lessons and no swimming were allowed last summer, as the region was in the midst of the pandemic, and kids were eager to get back to splashing around, said officials.

Numbers for the lessons are a little lower than they were in 2019, but longtime Pool Supervisor Lexi Wheeler said that has worked out well for swimmers and instructors this summer.

“It helps with the distancing,” she said, noting that instructors do wear face shields in the pool and they try to keep kids social distanced for much of the lesson time.

There are several levels for the lessons, and Wheeler was busy working with a group of Level 1 swimmers, basically ages 3 to 5, on a recent morning. Each level builds on the next, with swimmers learning more complex strokes as they move through the levels.

Parents watching the proceedings agreed that having the kids learn how to swim, along with providing a valuable potential life-saving tool, gives the youngsters the chance to expend some energy and also enjoy the cool water during the often triple digit days of summer in the Central Valley. Some have more than one swimmer enrolled in classes at the pool and many sign their kids up for more than one session. The lessons are hosted in two-week blocks, Monday through Thursday, meeting for a half hour each day.

“We have about six to seven kids in each class,” Wheeler said. “It’s going really well.”

The lifeguards/swim instructors this year include Sela Eteaki, Grady Fugett, Alyssa Herrera, Paloma Lara, Makayla Wentzell and Hunter Wheeler, serving as the head lifeguard/head swim instructor. Lexi is the pool supervisor and head swim instructor.

“This would have been my eighth year here but we didn’t have lessons last year so it is my seventh,” Wheeler noted. “I love this job, I love seeing all the kids.”

Along with the lessons, there are two public swim sessions offered in the afternoon. Each one is capped at 45 participants to adhere to social distancing guidelines and swimmers can only attend one of the sessions each day. The pool is open Monday through Friday.

For her part, Wheeler said she is just excited to see the pool open and busy again and loves to hear the sounds of the kids having fun.

“It’s a wonderful sight,” she said.

Level 3 swimmers play ‘Marco Polo’ in the shallow end of the Escalon Community Pool with swim instructor Grady Fugett, in straw hat, leading the game. Swimming lessons are well underway, with plenty of youngsters enrolled in the sessions. Marg Jackson/The Times