Take a dip to stay cool
by Glenn Moore
Jun 07, 2013 | 3302 views | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Summer swim season
Lifeguards Amber Wheeler (left) and A.J. Fraiser guide Audra Greene to the edge of the pool on a backboard as they practice their rescue skills Wednesday, June 5, at Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center. Summer recreation swimming at the pool begins Saturday, June 8.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Lifeguards filled the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center pool at West High School, 1775 W. Lowell Ave., on Wednesday, June 5, to practice their rescue skills for the pool’s opening day this weekend.

The pool opens for summer recreation swimming at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8 — just in time for expected 100-degree temperatures.

The San Joaquin County Young Men’s Christian Association will operate the pool for a third year, along with six other pools in the county.

The pool employs 42 lifeguards, who have been training for a week to ready for the nearly 800 people expected to visit the pool each week for swimming and swim lessons.

On Wednesday, lifeguards spent the morning practicing a drowning scenario during which they placed a dummy on a backboard to get it out of the pool.

Shayli Hill, a second-year lifeguard at the pool, said every situation — including a simulated drowning — is different.

“There is real life and then there is the book,” said the 17-year-old. “We do so much prevention to keep the pool safe.”

Some lifeguards took on the roles of family members and friends, adding to the poolside confusion for rescuers.

“In the moment it was very tense,” Hill said, “but when you can communicate with each other, it is easier.”

A new safety measure at the pool this year is color-coded wristbands designating each swimmer’s ability.

Cindy Silligman, 47, the program director and aquatics specialist for the YMCA, said each swimmer will take a test and wear a green, yellow or red wristband that will be returned at the end of the swimming session.

Green swimmers will have full use of the pool and diving board, while those with red bands must stay in the shallowest area.

Swimmers will also be required to sign in when they arrive.

In the three years the YMCA has run the pool, Silligman said there have been no accidents, saying they are “front-loaded in prevention measures.”

Lifeguard Calla Frankel, 20, joined in the training Wednesday, playing the role of a supervisor calling 911 after the drowning.

“It’s very much a group effort,” Frankel said. “Everyone has a role to play.”

The pool opens as summer-like temperatures are expected to bake Tracy over the weekend.

Accuweather.com predicts a high of 105 degrees on Saturday, with a high of 98 degrees on Sunday, June 9.

Silligman said she expects the weather to draw a crowd to the pool on opening day.

“We are a high-volume pool, we see a lot of people,” Silligman said. “It depends on the weather — the hotter it is, the more people at the pool.”

Silligman said that in addition to recreational swimming, the pool will offer other swimming options.

Water exercise swim will be held Monday through Thursday, which gives residents an opportunity for a low-impact workout. Silligman said it is especially good for seniors, diabetics and people with joint problems.

There will be other special swim days, too, including Hot Summer Nights at the Pool and a special swim night during the National Night Out on Aug. 6.

The pool will be open until Labor Day weekend in September.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.
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