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Bellingham
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Western’s pool: is it poppin’?

By Brodie Pirtle

Just how popular is the Wade King Student Recreation Center swimming pool? To the rec center staff, the pool is popular. Students at Western have different points of view on how much it gets used. 

Emma Kooyman, a front desk worker at the rec center, said the pool is very popular.

“The laps and lanes are always full during the day, and the hot tub is a real social point area,” Kooyman said.

According to Richelle Williams, the aquatics coordinator and youth programs advisor, there are a variety of uses for the pool. For those interested in becoming a lifeguard, the American Red Cross offers training classes in the pool.

There are also a variety of swim lessons. The pool holds one-on-one swim lessons for people that need individual attention while learning how to swim, Williams said. Youth swim lessons for those six months of age through 14 years old, as well as adult swimming lessons, are all offered, Williams said.

First-year Griffin Hutchings uses the pool a couple of times a week and said that there are not a lot of people.

“I do not think the pool is very popular, but I love the pool for laps to stay in shape and underwater breath exercises,” Hutchings said.

First-year student Lina Albernaz said she does laps in the pool not only for fun but for exercise as well.

“Sometimes I have the whole pool to myself and other times I have to share a swimming lane because it is so busy,” Albernaz said. 

According to Kooyman, there is more to the pool than just a place for students and community members to swim. Kooyman said that it’s also the place where the water polo team practices and competes. The swimming pool closes at 9 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays so the water polo team can practice. 

Williams said outside groups can rent the pool for special events for limited times throughout the year. Williams said the pool even has birthday party rental packages.

On Sundays the pool holds open swim where anyone can play water polo or shoot hoops within the designated area, Williams said. During this time toys and equipment are provided, and there is even a log roller available with instructor supervision. 

According to Williams, the pool is 25 yards long with six lanes, and the hot tub fits up to 32 people. There are always two lifeguards on duty watching the pool, which is heated to 81 degrees.

“Knowing the popularity of the pool and how much it provides for not only students but the community members as well, I think the expenses are worth it,” Albernaz said. 

If there are any questions about the pool regarding the times the pool is open and how to get involved with the aquatics teams, contact Williams at Richelle.Harvey@wwu.edu. 

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