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Copyright 2014 Charleston Newspapers
Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)
Clint Thomas 304-348-1232

On the calendar, Saturday, May 31 is the date for the Kanawha City Community Center pool to open for the summer. A shortage of lifeguards, however, may keep everyone out of the pool then.

According to KCCC Director Jennifer Holley, as of last week, only 11 people had applied to work as lifeguards at the Charleston Parks and Recreation Department's four area public pools. Under a system developed by the department, she said, the pool at North Charleston Community Center will open first with the lifeguards available currently, followed by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in downtown Charleston, the Cato Park pool on Charleston's West Side and the Kanawha City Community Center pool.

Holley said the facilities faced a similar dearth of trained lifeguards last year and the same system was implemented, with KCCC opening first in 2013, until enough staff was achieved. "They try to rotate throughout the area, she explained.

Holley said one possible obstacle in having enough lifeguards is the training/certification cost, which can be $200 or more in some instances. The City of Charleston community centers do not offer onsite training and certification programs, although some local entities, such as the Charleston Family YMCA, do, said Holley.

She said a local company, Legendary Lifeguards, can also provide instructions and credentials to become an American Red Cross-certified lifeguard with a two-day weekend program.

According to the Legendary Lifeguards website, the next sessions of lifeguard certification training will take place Saturday and Sunday, May17 and 18 and Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25 at the Coonskin Park Pool in Charleston. Legendary Lifeguards will also conduct recertification lifeguard training at Coonskin Park on May 18 and May 25. For information about these sessions, visit the website,, or contact Legendary Lifeguards President Eric Ferguson at 304-449-4347.

Holley said, along with the proper certification, lifeguards must be at least 15 years old (15-year-olds must have a work permit), undergo an interview process and pass a drug test. She said older individuals are also welcome to apply for lifeguard positions "if they're looking to make some extra money, as are former lifeguards who may need recertification (recertification is required every two years).

"They could get a lot of hours, said the KCCC director, "at least 40 hours, if they wanted them. We try to work around their schedule. They don't have to work during the entire week; they can work weekends or just weekdays.

Interested applicants should apply through the City of Charleston, Holley said, and not at the community centers. Applications can be downloaded at or requested by emailing or in person at the Office of Human Resources, 501 Virginia St., E., Suite 304, Charleston.

The KCCC plans to offer weekly swim lessons, for $10 per week, June 16-June 18, June 23-25, June 30-July 2, July 7-July 9, July 14-July 16 and July 21-23.

Morning lessons for beginning youth swimmers will be held from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Beginning youth evening classes will take place from 6 to 6:455 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Evening swim lessons for advanced youth and adult swimmers will be held from 7 to 7:55 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the center.

Pre-registration is required for all classes, and all students must pass a previous swim level before advancing to the next one.

Checks and money orders for the classes can be mailed to: Charleston Parks and Recreation, 200 Baker Lane, Charleston, W.Va. 25302, Attn.: Swim Lessons.

The swim lesson sessions at the KCCC will offer the following:

Beginning to Swim, Levels 1, 2 and 3, 10:30 a.m., 6 p.m.

Level 1 (Parent with child, 6 p.m. class only): For children under age 3, who must be accompanied by an adult. Level 1 orients young children to the aquatic learning environment.

Level 1 (Ages 3 and up): These classes orient young children to the aquatic learning environment and make them more comfortable in the water. Children are given activities to teach them to enter and exit the pool in a safe manner. They will also learn to submerge to their nose, mouth and eyes; receive instruction in floating and buoyancy in front and back positions; and learn how to play safely in and around the pool.

Levels 2 and 3 (Ages 5 and up): Children will build upon the skills garnered in Level 1. They will start learning rudimentary propulsive swimming movements on the front and back. They will learn the swim front crawl and elementary back stroke and be introduced to the scissors and dolphin kicks.

Advanced Swim Levels 3-6, 7 p.m.

Level 3: Children will learn survival float and improve on their basic swim strokes.

Level 4: Children will improve on the front crawl and elementary backstroke to swim longer distances in the pool. They will also learn the arm movement for sidestroke and be introduced to the back crawl, breaststroke and butterfly strokes in the classes.

Level 5: Objectives include the coordination and refinement of strokes. They will also learn to increase their swimming distances, and front and back flip turns will be introduced.

Level 6: Personal water safety is accented in these classes; participants must be able to swim all of the five basic strokes for at least 100 yards and will learn how to improve their distances. They will also be taught turns, diving skills, fitness and water survival techniques.

Adult Beginning to Swim, 7 p.m.

Participants will learn how to float without support, recover to a vertical position and the fundamentals of treading water. The scissors and dolphin kicks will be introduced, as will the front crawl, elementary backstroke, butterfly stroke and breaststroke. Students will also learn how to increase their distances in the pool.

When the KCCC pool opens, operating hours will be noon until 6 p.m. daily. Admission is free.

The Kanawha City Community Center is located at 3511 Venable Ave. in Kanawha City. Further information about its programs and recreational opportunities is available by visiting the center or calling 304-348-6484.

Editor's Note: The Kanawha City Community Center will be closed from Thursday to Saturday this week for the West Virginia High School Tennis Tournament. Regular operating hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.


May 14, 2014




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