Although snow may still be on the ground in parts of the U.S., summer is right around the corner — which means the time to start preparing your outdoor pools for usage is now.
Top of mind should be evaluating your risk management policies and safety protocols to ensure a not only fun, but also safe aquatic experience for members and staff alike.
“When it comes to ensuring pool safety and minimizing accidents, it is paramount to remember that prevention is the key,” said Roxane Rachocki, an aquatics director for Onelife Fitness. “The best way to prevent any problems is to ensure you and all of your staff are properly trained and regularly have trainings to help keep everyone up-to-date on procedures and proper safety techniques.”
For example, Onelife Fitness has developed an easily accessible Lifeguard Manual that contains best practices for risk management, including proper chemical procedures, life guarding responsibilities, emergency action plans, emergency contact information, safety procedures, as well as any pertinent information involving specific pools.
“Having a strong team in place and working closely with all aquatic maintenance personnel will help you in meeting all pool safety standards,” said Rachocki. “…The more [staff] know about not only pool safety and chemicals, but programming, the more they can help the members and you.”
Another aspect to preparing to open your pool is being aware of what’s trending in aquatics. Rachocki’s departments offers Aqua Fit water aerobics, in addition to group and private swim lessons. It also boasts staff certified in programs such as H2O Basics, Strength&Stretch, Aqua Zumba and Aqua Tabata.
“I try keeping up to date on what is trending because my background is in water and I enjoy seeing what is new in the world of water,” said Rachocki. “There are new and old trends that could be great to add into a program if a facility is set up properly. For myself, I prefer to focus on building and expanding the program and branching out from there, trying to offer staff that can help with rehab issues or a child that moves and thinks differently.”
To ensure Onelife Fitness has flexibility to offer a variety of programs and incorporate new trends, it boasts a salt water pool kept at 83 to 84 degrees.
“This combination of temperature and sanitizer provides a niche in the market,” explained Rachocki. “By keeping the water temperature at 83 or above we are able to provide a more comfortable environment for our elderly members as well our younger members.”
Rachocki’s final tips for running a great aquatic department this summer? “Get to know your members,” she said. “Catering to members with different needs makes an invaluable facility. Always be willing to learn and to share your knowledge with others by being willing to be the team player as well as the leader — it is a fine line.”