Lifeguards’ focus is on ‘safety first’
TONASKET — The Tonasket Community Pool could be open for business as early as Saturday, July 22, with an inspection by the Department of Health scheduled for Tuesday, July 18.
“It is absolutely gorgeous,” said Tonasket Pool Association member Monte Smith. “We are hoping to open Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but we are wanting to make sure our lifeguards are feeling comfortable there. Safety first is what we are trying to focus on.”
Smith said new Pool Manager Julie Caddy and her seven lifeguards want to have at least half a day in the pool to themselves, to get used to their surroundings and location of safety equipment they have been trained to use.
“People can watch the Tonasket High School reader board (located at US Bank on Whitcomb Ave) and the Tonasket Pool Facebook page for notice of the opening date,” said Smith.
Caddy and one of the lifeguards, Alex Palomares, got to be the first ones in the pool Friday evening (July 14), to sweep the bottom of the pool.
“Those guys are really excited. They are going to be great and we are really excited to have them,” said Smith of the lifeguards.
“I’ve never life guarded, so this will be a new experience. I’m happy to be a part of this, it’s all new for all of us,” said Caddy.
Tonasket High School’s junior class is well represented among the lifeguard crew, with Tylee Caddy (Julie’s niece), Cassidy Caddy (Julie’s daughter), Deana Cam and Madilynn Larson all hailing from that class. Also life guarding are THS seniors Taylon Pilkinton and Palomares. WSU student and THS 2014 alum Jenny Bello rounds out the crew.
Bello said she wants to be a lifeguard at the WSU Rec Center, and needed this experience first.
“This will be a good start-up job that teaches responsibility, and will be good to put on my resume,” said Tylee Caddy. “I’m excited about working with the kids, and also excited about getting a job working with the manager. It feels like you’re growing up, getting older.”
“I wanted a job that requires being out in the sun,” said Palomares.
“I thought this would be a fun summer job,” said Larson. “I’m really excited to be giving swim lessons.”
In addition to all seven passing their lifeguard training, first aid and CPR, lifeguards Larson and Tylee and Cassidy Caddy took Water Safety Instruction for teaching swimming lessons. Four of the lifeguards took swimming lessons themselves at the Tonasket Pool.
Asked what was the hardest part of the training, most agreed it was rescuing someone from the bottom of the pool within five seconds or less, three times in a row, with only a three-second break between rescues to catch their breath.
“We also had to learn how to correctly support someone with a possible spinal injury, to position them correctly and load them onto the back-board,” said Larson.
Asked if the later-than-expected opening was hard on their summer plans, the lifeguards all agreed it was “kinda hard,” but quickly expressed their excitement about the upcoming opening. Several of them made use of the time to volunteer their labor alongside other community members, with Larson and Tylee Caddy putting in about 10 hours each sorting wood, taking down the fence, picking up rocks and garbage and just generally cleaning up the place.
Pool fees are set by the City of Tonasket, with passes available for purchase at the pool. Daily fees for 16 and under are $2, with a 10-swim pass available for $20. Daily fees for 17 and over are $4.50, with a 10-swim pass available for $45.
Jennifer Weddle purchased 100 passes which were given to Tonasket Elementary Students at their Awards Assembly last spring, by random drawing.
Swim lessons will cost $45 per two-week session.
Pool rental fees, including up to three lifeguards are $155 for the two-hour minimum, $210 for three hours and $250 for four hours. Additional lifeguards cost $15 per hour per lifeguard.
Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday 1-5 p.m. with a lap swim from 5-6 p.m. and a family swim from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The pool will be open from 1-6 p.m. on Saturdays and closed Sundays.