On a recent Thursday morning, Charissa Cooley brought her son, Malachi, 5, to the Park Road Pool in Spokane Valley.
Malachi is getting his first swim lessons as Cooley and her other son, Tevye, 1, play on the deck.
“He loves it,” Cooley said. She said her son knows exactly what days he gets to swim and how long he has to wait until the next time.
On hot days, there is nothing better than jumping into a cool, clear swimming pool. The three Spokane Valley pools offer lessons, open swim and even swim meets.
Kiere Stubbers, a co-coordinator for Spokane Valley pools, said they offer Red Cross lessons for all skill levels starting at 6 months old. Before every class, instructors spend two minutes talking about water safety. They learn CPR, talk about how to call 911, learn the right fit for a life jacket and discuss what to do in an emergency.
“It’s very important to have those skills,” said Jennifer Papich, recreation coordinator for Spokane Valley. She said there are many opportunities for water activities because we live in an area with lots of lakes and rivers.
Stubbers said they even help students overcome their fear of the water, sometimes working with students one-on-one.
“Some kids are totally terrified of the water,” she said.
Emily Potter, co-coordinator of pools, said instructors use a lot of nurturing for those students and they assign an extra instructor to help.
Instructors make sure children know that if there is an emergency, they should get a parent, lifeguard or other adult to help. They stress the importance of not jumping in to try to help by themselves.
There are six to nine lifeguards during each shift at the pool. Open swim costs $1 and Papich said children who are on the free and reduced-price lunch program at school can get free swim passes at Spokane Valley Partners, through the Make-a-Splash program.
“We want to get kids in the pools,” Papich said.
Each Spokane Valley pool has a different feature: there is a giant slide at the Park Road pool, a lazy river at the Terrace View pool and a zero-depth entry at the Valley Mission pool.
“All three have different amenities, so go visit all of them,” Papich said.
This summer, the Valley Mission pool will offer dog swims on Aug. 25 and 26. There are two weight classes – one for big dogs, one for little dogs.
“People come just to watch,” Papich said.
Along with fun for the dogs, the pool coordinators invited veterinarians to come and offer mini-exams for dogs. PetSavers offers vaccinations on site as well.
The swimming season is in full swing, but it won’t last long. Papich said they stagger the closing of each pool. Park Road will close Aug. 18, Valley Mission will close Aug. 25 and Terrace View will be open through Labor Day. She said attendance starts to drop every year around that time, and for the college students working as lifeguards, this makes it easier for them to get back to school.
For now, the pools are open.
“Come swim. It’s fun,” Stubbers said.