This weekend will feel more like opening day for the staff at the Martensville Aquatic Centre (MAC).
“We actually opened for the season last weekend, but it was freezing,” said MAC manager Emily Harwood-Johnson in an interview on Friday, June 8. “The air temperature was about 12 degrees and the water temperature was about the same.
“The staff was here, but nobody else.
“But this weekend, it’s supposed to be really hot, and I’ve had a ton of phone calls today asking if we’re open.
“I’m expecting some big crowds in the next couple days.”
Harwood-Johnson, who just graduated this year with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan, is entering her third year as manager of the facility. She started as a lifeguard at the pool five years ago.
“It’s a great place to work,” said Harwood-Johnson. “We have a good staff that work hard and like to have fun together. For the most part, they’re students from the area.”
Harwood-Johnson said the most popular programs at the pool are the public swimming sessions and the Red Cross group swimming lessons.
“We typically run a ton of group lessons,” she said. “But we’re seeing more interest from parents in private lessons for their kids. We’ve always had that as an option, but it’s really gotten a lot more popular recently. Parents like it because it lets them fit their schedule, or tailor the lessons to their child’s abilities.
“It’s also good for our instructors to be able to focus on a single student rather than a group of students. It’s a whole different way of teaching.”
The pool is looking to run a program in partnership with the Open Door Society in Saskatoon this summer to give kids that normally wouldn’t be able to take lessons an opportunity to do so.
Harwood-Johnson said the facility is booked solid for June with private rentals, but there are still open times during July and August, particularly during weekday evenings.
The facility is also expanding its senior lifesaving courses.
“Over the years, the demand for higher levels of instruction has increased,” said Harwood-Johnson. “We’re offering the Lifesaving Society Bronze Star Medallion Cross this summer. We ran those courses when the pool first opened, but then the focus shifted to more lessons for little kids.
“Now those little kids are getting older, and so we’re seeing more need for advanced courses as a result.”
The pool is a popular place, not just for Martensville residents, but for people across the region, said Harwood-Johnson.
“When it’s hot, there’s sometimes a lineup outside our gates,” she said. “But we have a pretty big capacity, so we get a lot of people in.”