If there's one thing Austinites say about summer, it's this: Summer is hot. Last year, residents faced multiple days in triple-digit temperatures, often going weeks without a hint of rain or clouds for shade.
The City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) manages approximately 50 aquatic facilities where you can beat the heat this summer. Seven pools have already opened for the summer, and the rest will open in early June. You can view pool schedules online to see your neighborhood pool's opening date and hours of business.
Places to Go
Things to Do
PARD also offers several programs at their pools, including swimming lessons for both adults and youth. There are two categories of adult lessons - beginner, which teaches basic skills, and fitness, which covers lap swimming and techniques. Approximately 150 adults participated in swimming lessons last year.
Youth swimming lessons run in eight-day sessions. PARD Aquatics Coordinator Donita Grinde-Houtman says that lessons cover not only the basics of swimming, but basic water safety information in general. "Part of every level of swim lesson is water safety information that is provided to children and parents," she said. "Parents are always invited to come to lessons."
Approximately 3,000 people a year attend swim lessons, whether they pay for them or receive scholarships. Anyone can apply to receive a swim lesson scholarship by attaching a copy of either a free or reduced lunch letter or last year's taxes to the scholarship application. Program administrators review the applications and, if approved, grant one set of lessons (a $55 value) for a child or adult within a household. Although all are encouraged to apply, Grinde-Houtman said that the scolarship program really focuses on children, because children under the age of 5 years have the highest drowning rate of any age group. Contact the Aquatic Office to obtain a scholarship application.
Besides swimming lessons, PARD also provides unique programs like snorkeling lessons at Barton Springs Pool. These lessons teach students who are 8 years of age or older about the aquifer as well as snorkeling and safety techniques. The Junior Lifeguard program allows children 11-14 years of age to learn the basics of being a lifeguard. Additionally, the City's swim team program attracted 965 participants between the ages of 5 and 17 last year alone.
Features to See
According to Grinde-Houtman, residents can expect new features at Deep Eddy Pool the next time they visit. "Deep Eddy is undergoing some construction, so it will have an updated appearance," she said. "We are expanding the shallow end for a zero-depth entrance for small children, which will increase [the pool's] size."
About the Aquatics Division
PARD's Aquatic Division operates 50 public pool facilities, which includes 28 neighborhood pools, three wading pools, six municipal pools, 11 splash pads, one rental facility and Barton Springs Pool.