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By Missy Klatt
The Glenwood City Pool or the Mud Hole as it is affectionately (or not so affectionately) referred to has been full of activity this summer. Between open swim and swimming lessons it has seen a lot of use.
The pool is open (weather permitting) seven days a week from 12-6 p.m. when there are no lessons going on. Best of all it’s free and anyone can come and dip their toes in the water for a swim. However, there are a few rules that need to be observed while you are there. They are clearly posted outside of the pool but one of the most important is that lifeguards have final say as it is their responsibility to keep everyone safe.
Along those lines it’s important to remember that the lifeguards are not babysitters. The pool is a big area and the bottom isn’t clear like in a traditional swimming pool. There are only two lifeguards on duty at a time so one of the rules at the top of the list is that swimmers under the age of eight need to be accompanied in the water by a responsible individual at least 14 years of age.
Shari Rosenow, City Clerk and the lifeguards’ “boss” stated that they struggled making this rule but they have had some young children show up unsupervised in the past or some babysitters that thought they would just lie in the sun while their charges swam unsupervised.
To be a lifeguard one needs to be 16 years of age and pass a certification class for lifeguards. Glenwood City is also one of the few cities/pools that pay for the potential lifeguards to take the class. This year the candidates were sent to Ellsworth at the beginning of June for the class.
Rosenow also states that they sometimes take the class in New Richmond and in the past they have also traveled to Hudson. She said there are not a lot of places that offer the lifeguard certification class.
This year Rosenow has a good group of lifeguards that include: Austin Nelson, JJ Williams, Tom Rosenow, Haylie Hannah, Nikki Multhauf, Madison Caress, Lily Rutske, and Connor Berends. Will Rosenow came back this year just to teach swim lessons.
“You are responsible for other peoples’ lives”, is one of the first things that Rosenow tells her guards. “There is no slacking off in this job.” Rosenow also remarks that she tells her kids that it’s hard to be the adult in certain situations and tell adults that they have to follow the rules.
To give swim lessons one has to pass a Water Safety Instructor course. This year the city is offering four sessions of swim lessons for seven different levels of swimmers. Session one (mornings) and session two (evenings) will be finishing on July 21. Sessions thee and four will take place July 25-28 and August 1-4. Each session is for two weeks (Mon.-Thurs.).
Besides their lifeguarding duties the teens take turns watering all the flowers on Oak St. They also help maintain the cleanliness of the pool, raking sand, pulling weeds, keeping the docks clean, policing the area inside the fence, sweeping out bathrooms and keeping them stocked with supplies.
When hired the lifeguards are given two red “guard” shirts, one tank top and one long sleeve, they can wear their own bathing suits. They are also given a whistle. All though it is not a Lifeguard requirement, the guards at the pool take a ten minute break at the top of every hour where everyone has to get out of the pool. Rosenow states that it gets them away from looking at the water so they have a chance to get some “fresh eyes”. Along those lines, Connor Berends comments that sometimes it’s difficult to stay focused but you have to because people could be drowning.
When talking with some of the life guards, one of the reoccurring themes for what they liked about being a life guard was working with the kids and watching them have fun.
Hayley Hannah notes she has enjoyed watching the little kids learn how to swim. She goes on to say “we build a lot of bonds here at the mud hole because a lot of people come down from just here in town and they come like every single day.”
Connor’s favorite thing is making the kids feel safe without them thinking that the guards are too mean. Hayley and Connor both agree that being out in the heat and sun all day is one of the most challenging aspects of the job.
Second year guard, Austin Nelson says that he likes watching the kids have fun, “it brings me back to when I was a little kid, swimming in the water. I wasn’t the greatest swimmer but times have changed.” For Austin one of the biggest challenges for here [at the mud hole] “is telling kids they can’t be in the water without a parent, they seem really sad but rules are rules and in the long run it’s for their safety.”
Austin is also teaching four and five year olds swim lessons and is helping Will Rosenow with the older kids’ lessons. Austin says that life guarding is a pretty interesting job and he encourages anyone interested to check it out.
JJ Williams agrees that the kids are the best part of this job. “I always thought I wasn’t going to be the kid to watch over kids, little kids, so called but I really enjoy it actually. I enjoy hanging out with the kids. It’s a fun job.” The most challenging aspect of the job for JJ is making sure that you are doing everything right and following the rules.
There is still a lot of summer left for you to come to the pool for a refreshing dip in the water and to meet our life guards. If you are 16 or soon to be 16 and you think you might want to be a lifeguard in the future, stop down at city hall and talk to Shari.