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Summer fun could be washed out for some without more lifeguards

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Posted at 6:42 AM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 08:56:39-04

CINCINNATI — Many people turn to the pool to keep cool in the summer months, but some public swimming facilities around Cincinnati remained closed this first due to a shortage of lifeguards.

“It’s very heartbreaking when some pools cannot open because we don’t have lifeguards to open those locations,” said April Chappell, an aquatic director with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. "These pools are very valuable to the communities that they serve.”

The CRC operates 25 public swimming pools around Cincinnati, but only 13 have opened this year. While this is four more than were open in 2020, the CRC hopes they can hire more lifeguards to staff more pools.

"We could really use people to come in as soon as possible and help us, so that way we can staff and continue to staff the pools that we have open," said Ethan Hibbard, an aquatic director with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. "Then maybe even potentially look at opening other locations if that’s possible.”

The Red Cross will train any strong swimmers older than 15 years old to become a lifeguard. Once a person is trained, they are a certified lifeguard for two years. Pay starts at $11 an hour for lifeguards, and pool managers and supervisors are paid more.

Even people who can't swim can get a job at the pool. Anyone older than 16 years old can work as a slide attendant, and anyone older than 18 years old can work the gate.

"Right now, they’re all working a whole lot to make these pools be able to open every day," Hibbard said. "We just want to give them a chance to enjoy their summer instead of having to work all day, every day to make sure that we can give other people the opportunity to swim, too.”

The last training week to become a lifeguard starts on June 28 at Ryan Pool in Westwood. People can sign up for that training here. Walk-ins are also welcome.