I mentioned in my last article that the Mason City Pool was built a long time ago but appeared structurally sound. I recently learned that the pool was a W.P.A. project & as such would have been built in the 1930's. I was also told that originally the pool was spring fed but was converted some 30 years ago to a contemporary closed system design. I have also been told that in the past there were frequent problems with algae & water clarity that occasionally resulted in closing the pool.
I also mentioned in my last article that the new filtration & chemical feed system the city had installed last year was top of the line. This & the fact that the city now has someone with more than 44 years experience maintaining swimming pools to oversee the daily operation is why the pool should never be closed again due to algae or water chemistry issues. When I or my lifeguards test the water we fill out a chemical log that has a line for water clarity. Since before the pool opened for the season on Memorial day with few exceptions that line says "clear." Lately I have been writing in 'sparkles."
This leads me to a new concern I have. Our first open swim session is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually only have from 10 to 15 swimmers & never more than 24. The 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. session draws a pretty good crowd & our daily average if around 75. I believe that with the equipment we have & the lifeguard crew we have that we could double our user load & still maintain good water clarity & a safe environment. We have the facility & the staff but where are our customers?
Speaking of a safe environment, I attended a lifeguard training seminar on June 21st with our lifeguards & my supervisor Mr. Joe Martinez in Kileen Texas. Our lifeguards performed as well or better than the other teams from larger cities. I put them through a training exercise in our pool when we returned to Mason. I pretended to be a swimmer in trouble in the deep end of our pool. We have 4 lifeguards on duty for each session & require that a minimum of 2 participate in a rescue.
We discussed rescue techniques & I told them that if they were too close to me on a frontal approach I would grad them & we both would be in trouble. I am happy to report I was unable to lay a hand on any of them. Every one of them was able to get behind me, get me safely on my back supported & under control, & tow me safely to the side of the pool. They did almost as well on the unconscious victim drill. I am proud of our lifeguards.
Texas state law says a class B facility such as the Mason City Pool can have up to 1 user for every 15 sq. ft. of shallow water & up to 1 user for every 25 sq. ft. of deep water. The Mason City Pool has a shallow end surface area of 1040 sq. ft. & a deep end surface area of 750 sq. ft. That means that according to Texas State Law our swimming pool can have a maximum of 99 users at one time. I think that 99 people at one time in our pool would create many problems.
The people I work for wisely decided that the City Pool would have a limit of 60 users per session or 20 per lifeguard. I felt that due to the water clarity & efficiency of the lifeguard staff that we could provide a safe environment for up to 75 swimmers or 25 per lifeguard. I have the blessings of my superiors to make this change. Earlier in the season we had to turn away swimmers for the 2nd session. With the new limit of 75 per session we should be able to avoid turning anyone away.
The July schedule will also reflect an extended adult swim session from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. & the fee for the brief early adult swim session from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. will apply to the extended later session. Sherrie Jordan has scheduled swimming lessons the weeks of July 19th & July 26th. the time frame for the lessons is from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. During those 2 weeks there will be one open swim session only from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m.
It is my hope that no drastic changes will have to be made for the month of August. That is the month I lose most of the lifeguards to school. The older lifeguards don't go off the College until later in the month & one will stay for work. If I can get 2 or 3 older persons certified as lifeguards I could keep the pool open through Labor Day & beyond. Lord knows it's hot enough here to swim through September & maybe into October but it's really up to my bosses, public response, & the weather.