Pool back in business for summer

By Tony Parra

As May ends and June begins, the Portales City Pool is filled with children enjoying the start of summer.
The swimming pool has been open since Thursday and many children have started going to the swimming pool. Tessa Smith, assistant director, said it was slow for the first few days when it was cloudy, but once the clouds went away and the skies cleared, the city swimming pool was busy.
Smith said advertisements for lifeguards went out a month before May 26. She said hiring took a place a couple of weeks before the pool opened. Smith said there are 17 lifeguards on staff.
“Usually it’s hard to get lifeguards, but not this year,” Smith said. “We have more than we’ve ever had. Some of them are ENMU (Eastern New Mexico University) students and high school students.”
Smith, who has been working at the Portales City Pool for nine years, said it’s been a nice experience seeing the children grow up.
“It’s been really neat seeing them grow up,” Smith said. “I gave swimming lessons to some of the kids who were in the baby pool and now they’re at a higher level. It’s kind of amazing.”
On a warm, sunny Tuesday afternoon 3-year-old Isaac Duarte, wearing his sunglasses, was testing the baby pool, braving the deeper end of the pool while his parents watched.
“He enjoys being outside,” Nicole Duarte, Isaac’s mother, said. “He’s afraid of the deeper end, but he’s trying to go to the deeper end. It’s nice to spend some time with him as a family.”
Spending time is what Nodie Hawkins was doing with her great-great grand-daughter, Jazzmin Griffith, who is eight years old.
“The last time I brought her she was in diapers and in the kiddie pool,” Hawkins said. “We don’t have many activities in Portales for the kids. I love it (bringing Griffith to the pool).”
Swimming at the city pool is something 9-year-old Alex Adams did last year and will enjoy again this year.
“I basically go swimming every summer,” Adams said. “I like to have my friends sleep over during the summer and I like talking to my friends in the swimming pool.”
The City of Portales is selling swimming passes for a child (under the age of 18) at $16 per child. The adult swim passes are $28. Swimmers are allowed 20 admissions to the swimming pool during the summer. Smith said cards with the names of the participants with a swim pass are kept in the office to keep track of each admission.
There is a baby pool from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day for ages ranging from toddler to four years old. There are also family swim nights on Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Smith said open night swim is popular because anybody can come. She said mostly children go to the swimming pool on its normal hours from 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. every day.
Lifeguards are also offering swimming lessons during the summer for people of all ages. People can go by the city swimming pool to register for swimming lessons. No registration over the phone will be done. Smith said registrations are completed in person because it is easier to keep track of those who have paid for the swimming lessons and will be participating.
The swim pools are in use from 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. on many days for either training, swimming lessons, aqua aerobics and open swimming.