[Nameplate] Light Rain Fog/Mist ~ 58°F  
High: 72°F ~ Low: 59°F
Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

Youth, adults enjoy city pool

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

(Photo)
Sikeston youth cool off Tuesday at the Sikeston City Pool.
SIKESTON -- Sitting poolside, Renea Nichols of Sikeston kept a close eye on her 7-, 8- and 9-year-old children, who were enjoying the Sikeston City Pool as temperatures climbed into the high 80s Tuesday afternoon.

"A pool can be a fun thing -- if you keep it safe and responsible," Nichols said.

Nichols admitted she's not a swimmer, but will stick her feet in the water from time to time. On Tuesday, she was just looking to spend some summer fun with her children.

"I try to do something with my kids on my days off from work, and we decided to come to the pool," Nichols said.

Nichols and her family were among about 70 others taking advantage of the city pool, which officially opened over Memorial Day weekend.

Chris Hodgkiss, program director for YMCA of Southeast Missouri, estimated about 100 people turned out for the pool's opening Saturday.

"It went well. It was about normal for the opening weekend," Hodgkiss said. Throughout the summer the city pool, which is managed by the YMCA of Southeast Missouri, has regular times scheduled for general public use, family use, adult lap swimmers, swimming lessons and group visits.

Hodgkiss pointed out the pool employs eight full-time lifeguards.

"We're really lucky. All have lifeguarded for us in the past, and all have really good experience," Hodgkiss said.

Pool visitors often consist of parents and their children, but a lot of pool users are older kids who are out of school and looking for something to do during the afternoons, Hodgkiss said.

Regardless of who uses the pool, everyone must follow the same rules.

"Children under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult -- that's the No. 1 thing," Hodgkiss said.

Pool manager Lauren Medley said there's no diving or flipping into the pool. "A lot of the kids like to jump over each other in the pool, and that's not allowed either," Medley said.

Those who don't follow the rules may be punished.

First-time rule breakers are typically asked to stop what they're doing, Medley said. If they are warned again, they must sit out for a certain time. If someone is caught breaking the same rule a third time, they are asked to leave the pool, Medley said, adding some children have been banned from the pool for an entire summer before.

"Those who want to swim must wear a swimsuit," Medley said, adding she already noticed people wearing T-shirts or shirts as bathing suits, but they can be hazardous when swimming.

Obviously it's not a requirement, but it's important for both adults and children to wear sunscreen when they head to the pool, Hodgkiss said.

Prior to the pool's opening, the YMCA had received several inquiries from the public about when and if the pool was going to open this summer, Hodgkiss said.

Some residents were concerned about the city's recent effort to find a leak in the pool.

For the last year and a half, lifeguards have had to put more water in the pool on a daily basis, Hodgkiss recalled about the events leading up to searching for the leak.

"It's pretty normal to add water to pool, especially like ours, but the last couple of days it was open last season, the pool was really losing water. It was a pretty big leak," Hodgkiss said.

The city ran the pool for a couple more days and determined it was leaking 900 gallons an hour so a pool consultant was called in and determined there was a leak in a certain area, Hodgkiss said.

"The city jackhammered up the pool and was never able to actually find a physical leak so we just decided to put water in it and make it leak again to find it easier," Hodgkiss explained.

When the pool was filled again, there was no leak -- and there hasn't been since, Hodgkiss said. And so far, the swim season is off to a great start.

"It's running fine," Hodgkiss said. "The pool has warmed up, and the water is clear."