When it comes to safety, effective pool management may seem like a policy and equipment issue. If patrons are notified of the dangers of inappropriate behavior in or around a pool through signage or warnings from lifeguards, they may avoid the more serious accidents and mishaps that can result in pool-related injuries.
However, the most effective way to ensure that your patrons focus solely on enjoying the facilities may be to offer swimming lessons. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Madison-area YMCAs are starting swimming lessons aimed more towards adults than ever before. Pool management can capitalize on this trend by beginning their own programs to engage the community on a detailed level.
Focusing on education
It may be tempting to think of a pool or aquatic facility as a purely recreational place, but there are plenty of opportunities for programs and training initiatives to inform the community on important skills while they’re in the water. According to Becky Whiting, aquatic director at the Northeast YMCA in Madison, many adults want to learn how to swim, but simply never had the resources.
“Some just never had the opportunity,” Whiting told the Wisconsin State Journal. “They’ll call me wanting to swim and say, ‘Well, I’ve never taken lessons.’ I say, ‘Come on in.'”
Pools in rural areas are more likely to attract clientele that has little experience in the water. In these cases, it can be a safety issue as well as an outreach effort to teach people how best to protect themselves.
Starting a swimming program
Because you’re teaching so many important skills to a large group of potential swimmers, it’s important to take a detailed approach when starting a swimming program. Pool managers should seek help from a professionally certified instructor or lifeguard when crafting lesson materials and drills, but there are several issues that every staff member involved should be aware of.
First, some patrons may be overly hesitant about going into the water or uncontrollably anxious when moving around in the pool. Though these swimmers aren’t in any danger, it’s important to calm them as quickly as possible so they feel safe. People with phobias of water or swimming may need more time than others to acclimate to moving around in a pool.
“As adults, they know it will be OK, but sometimes they still panic,” Whiting told the Wisconsin State Journal. “One woman, I worked with her for a long time. She really wanted to float but she was so afraid and always so stiff.”
Calm down patrons by limiting them in the shallow end of the pool and keeping all other activity in the pool at a safe distance. Large splashing and water movement from kids may be too stressful for people who’re just starting to learn how to swim.
However, the New York Times explained that even the least experienced swimmers can learn the basics in as little as eight to 10 lessons, making adult swimming lessons a valuable investment for any pool.