The summertime swim season has just started at local pools, and before long the new pool at West High School will show the city just how much demand there is for the new pool.
This is the second weekend the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center has been open for recreational swimming, and starting Monday the new pool will be open for swim lessons and weekday recreational swims.
Even though Tracy’s city-run recreation department now has a second pool, compared to last year there hasn’t been a profound jump in the number of people who have signed up for swim lessons or dropped by for recreational swimming.
"It’s probably because people don’t know about this one yet," aquatics specialist Lauren Lamoureux said. "We have a few more people this year, but it’s pretty close."
This past week, she and her staff trained 43 lifeguards, about the same number who came out for the job last year. About half are in their first year as lifeguards.
They’ll be split between the old and new pools.
"Since the pool (at West) is new, a lot of people are interested in working here, but there are a lot of people, like myself, who like the old pool," said Gina Scarlata, who is in her third year as a city lifeguard.
In their training sessions, they learned about the differences between the two pools and what it will take to keep swimmers safe. The biggest difference is size. The 50-meter West pool is about twice the size of the pool at Dr. Powers Park and will require more lifeguards at any one time.
"It’s really big," said Paul Lenart, in his sixth year as a lifeguard for the city. "If there are a lot of kids it’s going to be crazy because it’s so big. But we’ll take care of it and make sure it goes smoothly."
The pool at West High will be under the city of Tracy’s jurisdiction for the summer, and the city will use the pool for the same programs that it has at Joe Wilson Pool at Dr. Powers Park.
City of Tracy management analyst Ed Lovell, who is in charge of aquatics programs for the city, said the first swim lessons begin at 9 a.m. Monday. The city will have half-hour sessions all day until 8:05 p.m. That schedule continues every weekday through Aug. 8. The West High pool will also be the site of the diving classes and a series of two-week water polo courses.
The Joe Wilson Pool, which opened for recreational swimming Memorial Day weekend, will also have a busy schedule of swim lessons and will be the site of lifeguard classes, parent-child classes, water aerobics, swim camps and evening lap swims.
The West pool was open last weekend, and starting Monday the city will open both pools on weekday afternoons for recreational swimming at a cost of $2 per person. Monday through Friday, the Wilson pool is open 1 to 3 p.m. and the Phillips pool open from 3 to 5 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the Wilson pool is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Phillips pool is open from 3 to 8 p.m.