Gov. Henry McMaster lifted restrictions for pools on May 18, and the South Carolina Department of Environmental Health and Control released a list of recommendations (see them here) for pools and swim leagues. You will run out of printer ink if you want to print the entire DHEC mandate, but the agency is recommending reasonable protocols to ensure hygienic facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neighborhood pools and SAIL swim teams are handling protocols individually, but here are some updates and options.
Are the YMCA pools open?
Yes. The YMCA of Greenville has opened all five pools and is slowly increasing lap swimming capacity. “We are moving ahead responsibly,” says YMCA of Greenville President and CEO Scot Baddley, who says the staff is following DHEC, local and Y-USA protocols to assure hygiene and distancing measures are taken. More information is available at YMCAGreenville.org.
Want to teach a child to swim at the YMCA?
Baddley remains optimistic about summer swimming, knowing this is an important public health issue. Swim lessons begin June 22. With the “Open Doors” campaign, he assures that folks are not denied access because of inability to pay. He states further that YMCA is sensitive to the economic challenges families may be having and encourages residents to call their local branch and ask for pool hours and scholarship information. The scholarship turnaround time has been reduced by half and remains “confidential and hassle free.”
What about the Kroc Center?
The Kroc Center pool opened on June 1, and swim lessons begin June 15. Day passes are available at $5 per person (a great deal!). In addition, there is the Kroc Swim Academy, which offers more technical and competitive swimming. There is more information at KrocGreenville.org.
What about Greenville County water parks?
The Greenville County water parks and community centers are opening June 15. The county recreation department is following CDC and DHEC guidelines. Capacity will be limited, and they are releasing numbers shortly. Passes can be purchased online. There are some mini water slides for littlest swimmers at many of the water parks and lazy rivers for the more chill seekers. More information available at GreenvilleRec.com.
What about competitive swimming?
Team Greenville Swim Club, a competitive swim team of 285 swimmers, is located at Greenville County Aquatic Complex on West Blue Ridge Road. Their team mascot is the terrapin (that’s a fancy word for turtle), but it is a super fast turtle as dozens of these high school swimmers become nationally recruited NCAA swimmers. Head coach Karl Kozicki encourages young athletes to look at swimming as a sport. “We are currently welcoming new members, ages 5-18, to join our team,” he says. “It is a great lifelong skill and a great sport.” He is awaiting new information from the national governing body USA Swimming Association as to when the next competitive meet will be allowed to occur. More information on the swim team is available at TGswim.com.
What about SAIL summer teams?
SAIL describes 2020 as the “strangest season SAIL has ever had.” Individual summer neighborhood swim teams have started practice and are planning on “virtual meets” — swimming an event at a pool, recording the time and comparing it with others. If you have ever been to a summer swim meet, you know it is extremely well run by volunteers, so I imagine virtual meets will be virtually seamless.
All the aquatic directors request patience as pools open, staff is trained on new rules and pool capacities increase.
Even if there is not a pool around: OK, it is June in the South, which means we are all going to melt into the pavement shortly — it looks like we may need some fantastic firefighters to unlock the hydrants to cool off summer tensions. Ahem. How about it, fire chiefs?
Amy Ryberg Doyle served for 12 years on Greenville City Council. She is married and has four children. An outdoors enthusiast, she likes to bike, swim and run, but not all in that order. She power-naps daily.