From July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, staff recorded 61,700 patron visits to Sheldon Pool, nearly 65,000 visits to Echo Hollow Pool, and an impressive 93,400 visits to Amazon Pool – despite the fact that Amazon is open only part of the year. That’s a total of 220,100 visits or 37.5 percent of the attendance recorded for all Recreation programs.
Demand for the City’s pools is very high and comes from a variety of uses. Sixteen different competitive teams – from high school swimming to University of Oregon water polo – are accommodated at the pools. Other uses for the pools include: water aerobics, lap swims, rec swims, swim lessons, school physical education, Scuba classes, water volley, birthday parties, kayaking, triathlon training, military training exercises and even baptisms. To meet this demand, the pools are open for more hours than most Recreation facilities, hosting public and private programs from 5:30 a.m. until as late as 10:00 p.m. Swimming lessons are one of the most important uses for the pools. In FY14, the Aquatics program offered more than 1,400 swim lesson classes, including every third-grade student from Pleasant Hill Elementary. The Parent-Teacher Organization has for many years raised money to transport students to the pool to learn this valuable life skill and gain knowledge about how to safely have fun in and around the water.
It takes a lot of people to operate the pools. A busy Amazon recreation swim is staffed with 30 people to ensure guests have fun and stay safe. For this summer, Aquatics hired 51 individuals as lifeguards, instructors, or customer service staff. And, as staff point out, working at the pools brings many to experience Aquatics full circle. Numerous lifeguard staff were first introduced to swimming in lessons at a City pool and grew up with Aquatics through the youth programs offered (such as Summer Swim and Water Polo League or Junior Aquatics Staff) and the competitive teams supported by the pools.
For more information about the Recreation Division’s Aquatics program, contact Aquatics Section Manager Rich Fay, at 541-682-6336 or Rich.J.Fay@ci.eugene.or.us.