The YMCA has answered a number calls from people wanting to know when the YMCA pool will open. On Saturday, the wait is over.
The pool will be open seven days a week with open swim from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sundays. During this time, anybody can swim and those under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
"Open swim is the most popular time at the pool," said Chris Hodgkiss, program director of the YMCA in Sikeston. "It attracts the biggest crowd and the largest number of kids, especially on Saturdays."
Family swim will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. At this time children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
"Family swim provides a good family atmosphere," said Hodgkiss, "Since kids must be accompanied by an adult, it is a good family environment."
Adult lap swimming will also be available to those interested. A few lanes are set aside in the pool solely for those wishing to swim laps. The times are 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The evening lap is gaining popularity, but the morning lap swim still only draws a dedicated few, Hodgkiss said.
Access to the pool is free to all YMCA members and the prices per guest each day are $3 for an adult, $2 for a youth, and 50 cents for children under age 3.
Proceeds from the guest fees go to the general pool fund that provides lifeguard and staff salaries as well as for the general upkeep of the pool.
The YMCA lifeguards will give lessons again this year. There are two sessions. The first session lasts from June 12 through 23. Registration for YMCA members takes place June 6 and 7. Non-member registration is June 8 and 9. The second session takes place July 10 through 21. Registration is July 3 and 5 for members and 6 and 7 for non-members.
Lessons last 45 minutes and take place on Monday and Thursdays. The cost for members is $12 per lesson and $24 for non-members.
In teaching kids the basics of swimming, the lessons help to prevent accidents and drownings with young children, one of the main goals of the pool, officials explained.
Safety at the pool has been greatly emphasized in recent years. Lifeguards go through additional training before the pool opens and are kept up-to-date with safety procedures and accident prevention.
"The Red Cross from Cape had come down early last year and had an in-
service with the lifeguards to make sure all procedures were followed correctly," said Hodgkiss.
The next day, Hodgkiss recalled, the young girl was injured in the pool when a child accidentally jumped on her. The lifeguards handled the situation perfectly.
"The lifeguards even got an award from the Red Cross for correctly handling the situation and thoroughly following the right procedures," said Hodgkiss. The pool is not only just another activity for the YMCA, but also a very important part of their mission.
"The pool helps us reach more kids. It is a natural draw." said Jeff Partridge, executive director of the YMCA in Sikeston.
"The pool helps us serve the community," agreed Hodgkiss. "It was built for the community to be a place where kids and adults from the town can come together."
With the weather forecast looking sunny and warm, the YMCA is expecting a large crowd this weekend.