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'Skills that last a lifetime'; Louisville pools looking for more seasonal lifeguards

Four pools in Louisville will open Memorial Day weekend, but officials say they need to double the number of lifeguards to feel comfortable with staffing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Memorial Day weekend is about to get a little more exciting this year.

Louisville Parks and Recreation are opening the Algonquin, Fairdale and Sun Valley pools on May 28, according to a press release. 

The pools’ regular weekday schedule and weekend schedule will run until Aug. 7. From Aug. 7 to Sept. 5 the pools will only be open on the weekends.

Officials said the pools will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Saturdays and the pools will be closed one day a week for maintenance. 

Fairdale will be closed Mondays; Algonquin will be closed Tuesdays; and Sun Valley will be closed Wednesdays. 

According to the release, the daily cost is $3 for those 13 and older, and $2 for those 12 and under.

Acting Director of Louisville Parks and Recreation, Margaret Brosko said Parks and Recreation is excited to get swim season underway.

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“We also want to stress the need for lifeguards. We have increased the hourly wage for seasonal lifeguards to $15.15 per hour and are offering free training classes to those who commit to working through the summer season,” said Brosko.

A lifeguard training session is scheduled May 16 through May 20 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center.

JC Barnett a lifeguard trainer with Kentuckiana Pool Management said being a lifeguard comes with skills that stick with you for the rest of your life.

"We have about 25 lifeguards, to staff four swimming pools," said Mike Jotautas the Metro Parks Aquatic supervisor.

But Jotautas said they need almost double that to actually be comfortable with staffing the four pools. He said they would need about 45 to 50 lifeguards.

Barnett, a veteran to the pool, lifeguard trainer and swim coach, said the increased pay should help alleviate the shortage.

"Everybody's offering an increased amount of hourly wage anywhere from 12 to 15," Barnett said. "Incentives, signing bonuses, you know, the list goes on and on."

Barnett said some pools have even pushed for lowering the age requirement.

Those ages 12-15 will be able to participate in a Junior Lifeguard Club and it will run from June 15 through Aug. 5. 

All the pools will offer this club from 10 a.m. to noon. Algonquin’s club will be on Wednesdays, Fairdale’s club will be on Thursdays and Sun Valley’s will be on Fridays according to the release.

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"A lifeguard not only has to have basic training, okay, which is your rescue skills, your CPR skills, your first aid skills, but then you have to go through and get a certificate of operations for the Louisville Metro Board of Health," said Barnett.

Both Barnett and Jotautas say it may seem like a lot but this is necessary for the safety of the community.

"It's very important that we have enough lifeguards watching the water, you know, from different angles, sometimes at the same time, and then even having backup lifeguards," said Jotautas.

When it comes to the city's pools, well they'll even waive the fees for your training, saying they hope this helps to bring their staffing up.

Barnett says overall, the job is one that brings great pride.

"You are no longer going to be a standby person, you're going to be a person that's going to be able to engage during an emergency. And it's going to give you confidence," said Barnett.

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Swim Clubs

The Algonquin pool will offer Aqua Zumba hosted by Central Adult Learn-to-Swim, Inc. It will be offered Saturdays in June and July from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for $5.

The Summer Recreational Swim Club is also back for another year. It’s offered to children in three age groups: 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12. Registration will take place the week of June 1 at the pools according to the release. The full schedule can be found below.

Recreational Swim Club Details
June 1, 2, 3
Algonquin Pool – June 1, 10:30 a.m.
Sun Valley Pool – June 2, 10:30 a.m.
Fairdale Pool – June 3, 10:30 a.m.

4-week program beginning the week of June 6 through the week of June 27
Algonquin Pool – Mondays, 10:30 a.m.
Sun Valley Pool – Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.
Fairdale Pool – Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.

4-week program beginning the week of July 4 through the week of August 1 
Algonquin Pool – Mondays, 10:30 a.m. (No class July 4)
Sun Valley Pool – Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.
Fairdale Pool – Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

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