Pool time

Swimmers enjoy the cool water at the Prescott Pool in July 2014. Lifeguard Brad Duprey, 18, uses a water soaker on TJ Katsel, 11.

By the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

It’s several weeks later than usual, but news that residents of Prescott and other nearby communities will soon be able to cool off in the Prescott Pool has arrived.

The pool will open July 23, if filling and heating of the water go as planned.

The parks and recreation district anticipates not only local swimmers but also visitors from Dayton, Waitsburg and other areas without a city pool this year.

The coronavirus pandemic and work to apply a fresh coat of paint in the pool delayed Prescott’s opening, which usually happens right as schools close in June.

Walla Walla County is still in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, bringing with it some swimming requirements this year.

In Phase 2, all patrons must wear a mask when they are not in the water. All staff will wear a mask unless they are on a high guard chair with a 6-foot perimeter, Pool Manager Kyra Hartley said.

Capacity is limited to no more than 25 people in the water at a time, she said.

Staff will split the pool into five sections this year to follow the guidelines. No more than five people in a section of the pool are allowed. Swimmers can reserve sections of the pool to give groups a section of the pool deck to set up their spot, she said.

If a group has more than five people, then they can book multiple sections of the pool at a time, but will need to stick to those sections only, the pool manager said.

When a pool pass is purchased with cash or check, three time slots can be booked to secure a swim time.

“I am very excited for the pool to open,” the pool manager said in an earlier interview.

“We got a big grant this year for swim instruction, so we have a lot of new swim lesson aids, little stands for the kids to stand on so they don’t have to sit on the side of the pool, new fins, kickboards, noodles. So we have lots of new equipment for this year.”

Swim lessons are still on, but will run a little differently this year, Hartley said.

For children who can support themselves in the water and swim, there can be four kids in a class with one instructor, she said.

The instructor will be wearing a mask on land.

The instructor will be on deck with a mask for children that cannot swim, and the children in the pool will need an adult to be in the water with them, Hartley said.

Two children per swim class will be allowed, each with a parent.

A two-week session is five days a week for 30-minute sessions. The cost is $20 for those living in Prescott’s 99348 zip code. People outside of that zip code must pay $35, she said.

There are 10 total water aerobics spots and five lap swim spots, she said. This is due to the demand for the shallow end of the pool for water aerobics.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.