By Hill Country Community Journal, August 17, 2020
The Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department announced that the operating season at the Olympic Pool will be extended to Saturday, Aug. 22. It was originally scheduled to close Aug. 14.
“With the delay of the school start date, we wanted to be able to provide our community with the opportunity to swim at the pool an extra week, particularly since we had a delayed opening this year due to COVID-19,” said Ashlea Boyle, director of Parks and Recreation. “We are excited that we are able to do so. Swimming is a great way to stay physically active and is fun for the whole family. Get outdoors and cool off at the pool before summer is over.”
The Olympic Pool is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12-6 p.m. It is closed on Mondays for maintenance but will remain open on Monday, Aug. 17 as an added treat. Admission is $1 for non-swimmers and guests 4 years and older. This year, the Olympic Pool celebrates its 50th anniversary. So, gather the family, bring your towels, face masks, and swimsuits, and enjoy an afternoon splish-splashing at the pool. Children 11 years and under must be accompanied by a responsible adult more than 17 years old.
Water Safety Tips
It’s common for Texans to head to bodies of water such as a pool, river, lake, or ocean to beat the summer heat. Keep in mind that water safety is very important, and that even the most skilled swimmers are prone to being involved in a water-related emergency. Parks and Recreation Specialist Rosa Ledesma is a licensed Ellis and Associates Lifeguard Instructor, and offers these water safety tips.
• Provide constant visual supervision – Parents/responsible adults should always actively watch children around water. It does not take long for a child (or anyone) to become distressed in water. This includes the bathtub. A good rule of thumb for young children is to keep them within arm’s reach and to focus only on the child and not distractions (phones, other people, etc.). Never assume that a child is safe in water toys including rings, floats, noodles, and kickboards. The child could lose control and find themselves unable to reach safety.
• Teach children how to be safe in and around the water – Prevention starts with the self-accountability of the swimmer and parents of young children. Review common pool rules and explain why they are a rule. Comprehension of rules is easier when you understand the purpose for it as well. For example, running is not allowed at pools because it is a slip and fall hazard. In addition, if you have a residential pool, ensure that appropriate barriers are in place to prevent a child from falling in the pool.
• Introduce your children to the lifeguards and explain what their job is – Remember, lifeguards are not babysitters. They are trained to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies. Children can be comforted to know that lifeguards are there to help, if needed, and also to enforce rules to keep everyone safe at the pool. Just be sure to visit with the lifeguards when they are down from stand as to not distract them from surveillance of the water and guests. Aquatics management is more than happy to visit with pool guests and explain the services we provide.
• Learn to swim – Be proactive in regards to water safety and sign up for swim lessons if you or your child cannot swim. It’s important to note that a certificate from passing swim lessons does not ensure against drowning. It does however help provide the tools, experience, and knowledge base to be comfortable and safe in and around water. Panic is one of the major causes of drowning and even a good swimmer can drown. Do not go in water if you do not know how to swim.
• Wearing U.S Coast Guard approved life jackets – Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (especially for weak or non-swimmers, on a boat, or in open water). It is imperative that the flotation device fits accurately. Although life jackets are invaluable, they can also provide a false sense of security to non-swimmers, particularly children. They may not understand that it’s the life jacket that keeps them buoyant while wearing them, and could lead the individual to believe that they are always buoyant in the water regardless of wearing one or not. Educate the child or individual, and always keep your eyes on them.
• Stay away from water drains – The powerful suction from drains can trap someone underwater. Encourage children not to swim near or play with drain grates.
• Learn C.P.R. and First-Aid skills – Knowing critical lifesaving techniques can make a difference between life and death in the event of an incident.
• Never swim alone – It is good to always have someone supervising the area in case an emergency were to arise. It is also advised not to consume alcohol while swimming as it can impair judgement and motor skills.
• Teach children to wait for a grown-up before entering the water – Never let children in a body of water without some kind of supervision. If a child cannot swim, have him/her wear a personal flotation device, and an adult should enter the water with them, to help ensure their safety is top priority.
• Do not play breath-holding games – This creates a higher risk of passing out underwater (shallow water blackout). Follow pool and facility rules.
• Be careful when swimming in natural bodies of water – Open water can be difficult to see through, and unseen objects may be present that can cause injury (enter feet first).In addition, natural bodies of water can have a current which can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Know where you are swimming and swim only in designated areas. Make sure the body of water matches your skill level. A pool is different than a river, lake, or ocean. Do not jump, dive, or enter the water from bridges or dams in the Kerrville park system.
• Take breaks when needed – Swimming is great exercise and can cause you to get tired faster than expected. Eat snacks, stay hydrated, and apply sunscreen often.
• Anyone can be at risk of drowning – Don’t assume a child/adult who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning. Everyone should be supervised in the water, no matter what their swimming skills are.
Due to COVID-19, the Olympic Pool will be operating at 50 percent capacity. Entry to open swim will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Once maximum capacity has been reached no one will be allowed to enter the facility until the capacity level is reduced. This includes all swimmers and non-swimmers that enter the facility. Large groups such as day cares/camps must make arrangements in advance of arriving at the pool. The contact person is Rosa Ledesma, Parks and Recreation specialist, at (830) 258-1160 or email@example.com.
Visitors to the Olympic Pool are encouraged to observe, at all times, the CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Individuals should avoid being in a group larger than 10 individuals. Within these groups, individuals should, to the extent possible, minimize in-person contact with others not in the individual’s household.
When maintaining six feet of separation is not feasible, other methods should be utilized to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a face covering or mask, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and avoiding sharing common objects.
For additional information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (830) 257-7300, firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the city’s website at www.kerrvilletx.gov, or follow us on Facebook at City of Kerrville TX – City Hall or Instagram at cityofkerrville.
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