Attendance at pool swells

Pool director Craig Carlson told commissioners of the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District at their April 19 meeting that 10,328 people used John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool during March.

Military active duty participation was 859 during the month and military dependents and retirees numbered 1,270.

“Swim lesson registration is also being taken and so far we have had 311 students sign up this month,” Carlson said.

Also present at the meeting was Kim Higbee, water aerobics coordinator at the pool, who told commissioners attendance in her program has grown dramatically.

“When I took over the program three years ago, we had maybe eight people show up for aerobics,” she said. “Now we have our day program running Monday through Friday and we have sometimes as many as 30 people at each session.”

Higbee said the pool also offers an evening aerobics program that meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and about 20 people come to each session.

“On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have an arthritis class which I teach and attendance has grown steadily,” Higbee said. “We have had to change the name to ‘Water Wonder’ because the water in the pool is not warm enough for a certified arthritis class. To be certified, the water temperature has to be a minimum of 83 degrees.”

Higbee said she is very proud of this program and the way it has grown.

“We have so many people attend that we have had to move over into one of the lap lanes,” she said.

Commissioner Harvey Prosser inquired what was the difference between an arthritis class and a regular aerobics class.

“In the arthritis class, we have more in-depth stretching than in aerobics with slower movements,” Higbee replied. “We also try to keep the people moving all the time, this is the benefit of the class.”

Head lifeguard Erika Miller was also at the meeting and said she has 25 people signed up for the new lifeguarding class.

“This is a record,” she said.

Miller said an automated external defibrillator has been purchased at a cost of $2,000 and training in the use of the new piece of equipment has been completed.

“Twenty-five staff members have been trained and the young lifeguards are very comfortable in using it,” Miller said. “In March, all the lifeguards received upgraded training and in April I will be conducting a class in the new CPR requirements.”

Training by Miller has not been exclusively confined to personnel working for the pool.

“In February, I ran an upgrade class for people in five surrounding counties so they could go back home and train their own employees,” she said.

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