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A group of friends do hand stands in the pool on Monday. There were only about 10 kids in attendance. --Erin Murtaugh/Albert Lea Tribune
A group of friends do hand stands in the pool on Monday. There were only about 10 kids in attendance. -- Erin Murtaugh/Albert Lea Tribune

Gallery: Going just swimmingly

Published 10:42am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

By Erin Murtaugh, staff intern

Though the weather hasn’t been quite what students expect for summer vacation, that hasn’t stopped the Albert Lea Aquatic Center from starting its season.

“Attendance has been a little bit down,” said Keli Ooms, pool manager.

The swimming season opened on Saturday, but things have been cool. On Monday, the sky was overcast and air was cool, like much of spring has been. About 10 kids were swimming, and the lifeguards were bundled up.

On Tuesday, however, children of all ages were seen swimming with family or friends. The line for the water slide was long.

“My favorite part is just getting to hang out with my friends,” said Elizabeth Wiemerslage, 11.

Corbin Schultz, 18, is a lifeguard at the pool. Schultz said he became a lifeguard to work with kids and get experience in a job that creates universal skills.

Lines were long Tuesday on the slide and diving boards, both popular among all ages.

“I like the slide or diving board,” said Matt Bera, 17. “And I like to come on Tuesdays.”

The pool opens daily at 1 p.m. Daily admission is $1.25 for children under 2, $3.25 for ages 3-17, and $3.50 for ages 18 and up. Season passes are also available for $35 for city residents and $45 for anyone who lives out of town.

Aside from regular swim days at the pool, the city pool has a variety of activities to offer to all ages. Monday is Grandparents Day. Grandparents can get free admission with one paid child admission. On Tuesdays, a special rate of $2 for general admission is offered and admission for anyone under 2 is only $1.

Three times during the season, the pool hosts an event called Pool Crashers. On Thursday, July 25 or Aug. 15, the pool is open in the evening for teens only. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., anyone ages 13 to 18 years old can attend for a dollar. For younger family members, ages 6 months to 3 years, the pool offers Splash with Me, a time for parents to swim with their children. Splash with Me runs Tuesdays, June 18 to Aug. 6, and is offered from 10:15 to 11 a.m. or 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Cost to attend is $20 in town and $25 out of town.

The staff offers private and group swimming lessons for children ages 3 and up, including adults. A water aerobics class started Sunday and runs through Aug. 18. This exercise class will use barbell floaters, noodles and aquatic gloves.

On July 12, Power 96 will broadcast from the pool for what’s called Play Day at the Pool from 1 to 3 p.m. The fee to attend is regular admission, but games and prizes will be offered. The Freeborn County Partners in Prevention will sponsor Free Swim Day for all ages on July 20 with a rain date set for July 21.

Toward the end of the season, the seventh annual Doggie Dip will take place at the pool. For $4, two human companions can bring their dog out to swim. Pool chemicals will be adjusted specially for four-legged friends. The pool also is available to rent for group use.

There is not a set date for the close of the season yet, but it will be sometime in August, Ooms said.