High water and occasional algae advisories may have limited swimming at Marion Reservoir and Marion County Lake.
But just in time to rescue summer fun, two public pools opened this week, and a third is open year-round.
For Aaron Paulus, visiting Hillsboro’s Family Aquatics Center is an opportunity to see peers over the summer.
“A lot of my friends come here, so I get to see them outside of sports,” he said.
While the slide is his favorite part, the rest of the deep end comes with its own benefits, Paulus said.
“When the deep end is open, that’s really fun,” he said. “I get to try doing flips.”
The pool is a convenience because it caters to all age groups, Hillsboro resident Tracy Hefley said.
“It’s perfect for my kids because it gives them something to do in the afternoon,” she said.
Kids ages 8 and up are allowed to visit Hillsboro’s pool without parental supervision.
That makes a handy option since Hefley’s kids visit the pool five days a week, she said.
“I feel pretty safe with that, but I still like to be here because anything can happen,” she said. “They’re pretty good swimmers, so I’m pretty confident.”
One advantage for employees is the scheduling, Hefley said.
“It’s good for them,” she said. “They’re pretty flexible with hours. Kids have camps and stuff, so it’s a good place for them to work and still enjoy their summers without being tied down.”
When a pool doesn’t have enough employees, like Peabody’s, it removes that flexibility, Peabody employee Breanna Lett said.
“It’s hard for those of us involved in sports,” she said. “We have to say we can’t make it to a certain event or the pool won’t open.”
One surprise for the pool was having 15 people for Saturday’s seasonal opening, Lett said.
“There were more people than I thought there would be,” she said. “The pool is cold, and it’s cloudy out, so it’s not very likely people think about swimming.”
Working at a year-round pool like Marion Aquatics Center comes with its own challenges, pool manager Aleya Ediger said.
“A lot of the lifeguards around here live in Florence or even further,” she said. “When they’re out of school, they work at those pools in the summer.”
Ediger officially has nine on staff who can work as many as 25 hours a week, but most work between 5 and 15 hours.
Having to maneuver schedules is a new experience for the recent Tabor graduate, so Marion Aquatics Center’s connection to the Marion school district is helpful, she said.
“It’s a whole different ball game being a manager,” Ediger said. “Every day you learn. I get a lot of help from the district office, which is awesome.”