Rochester Swim Club pushes for more swimming pools

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – “There is a lack of pools all around town. There was before, and there is even more now,” said Autumn Kappes, the CEO of the Rochester Swim Club.

The Rochester Swim Club runs year-round swimming lessons at the Rochester Recreation Center. In the summer the group runs lessons at Soldiers Field Pool and Silver Lake Pool. However, at the end of May, Silver Lake Pool was vandalized and is expected to open up in July.

“With Silver Lake being closed right from the beginning of the season that has been really tough for us because we do a lot of our lessons there,” Kappes said.

She said many people in Rochester are having a hard time finding open slots for swimming lessons.

“There are very few programs that are left here in town. The YMCA was one of the biggest [swimming] lesson programs at one time, so it is a lot of people looking for lessons and there is just not pool space all around,” Kappes said.

This is the first summer the YMCA has been closed. Kappes said the school pools are not available for use in the summer.

“We as an organization, the Rochester Swim Club, we have 500 kids a week going through lessons as it is. That’s all year round. We’re turning people away, left and right,” she said.

The Rochester Athletic Center (RAC), also offers swim lessons.

Whitney Benedetti, the RAC aquatics director, said mostly its members utilize the lessons. Right now, people who want evening lessons are put on a waitlist.

“We’re just noticing a lot more inquiries a lot more phone calls,” she said.

If you decide to give lessons on your own, without trained professional help, Benedetti has some safety suggestions.

“You just want to make sure you’re being aware of your child and making sure they’re not getting overly tired when you’re working with them. So, they’re not struggling unnecessarily. You always want to stay within arms reach of them. You want to foster horizontal body positions as opposed to vertical to help them roll over to breathe instead of picking their head straight up and down to breathe, but rolling to their side or to their back to breathe... and starting those habits early,” Benedetti said.

She said it’s about establishing water safety skills.

“When they jump into the pool, then turn around and swim back to the wall, or push off the bottom to get back to the surface so that they can know where they can hit the bottom and jump up to catch a breath and then begin their swim back. Then go back to the closest wall instead of the wall they might see, which might be further away,” she said.

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