A small group of nine teenage lifeguards swam laps and practiced different techniques at the city pool on May 26.
After multiple meetings and pleadings with city council members to ensure its opening, the grand opening of the Bernardo C. Sandoval Sr. Swimming Pool still remained in question because of a lack of lifeguards.
The issue, which began as a budget concern, inadvertently recruited passionate residents to become more involved in city council issues and represent the smallest Beevillians.
Red Cross lifeguard instructors Eric Taylor and Linda Ford, who have been involved with the city pool training for over a decade, were happy to learn about the pool opening this summer.
“I’m glad they realized the importance of the pool to these kids,” said Ford. “They need it. There’s no places for them to go or anything to do.”
As cars passed near the pool and saw the lifeguards in training in the pool, they honked and waved in support.
“These are just the prerequisites to make sure they are strong enough to take the training,” said Taylor.
The lifeguard trainees took turns with instructors, performing different exercises including different swimming techniques, rescuing a 10-pound brick from the deep end and swimming multiple laps without stopping.
“You cannot stand or walk on the shallow end,” Taylor instructed them. “Do not stop. You have to keep going; don’t give up.”
The trainees, who proved to be strong swimmers, constantly fought off fatigue, the sun and pressure from their instructors.
Taylor said the actual training would take place over Memorial Day weekend.
The trainees would practice more advanced rescue moves as well as more exhaustive exercises to prepare them for their new summer responsibilities.
“We were definitely shocked to hear that the pool might not open this year,” said Taylor. “I started as a lifeguard when I was 15, then moved up to manager. I’m glad we got the kids out here and hope to get them ready the summer.”
According to the ordinance accepted on May 25, the pool will open once school dismisses for the summer Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 2-6 p.m.
The pool will be closed on Mondays.
General admission is $4 for children up to 10 years old and senior citizens, and $5 for an adult,
Individual season passes for residents are $75 and $25 for every additional person in same household. Individual passes for non-city residents are $150 and $35 for every addition person in the same household.
City Secretary Gabriela Hernandez stated, “due to low staffing of lifeguards the city of Beeville will not be taking reservations to rent the pool for parties; it’s open for general admissions only.”
Both Ford and Taylor worked with the trainees individually and provided examples while in the pool alongside them.
“Anyone that says being a lifeguard is easy,” Ford said, “has never been a lifeguard.”