The heat of the summer has arrived and many residents, especially children, are cooling off by taking a dip in the Ramona Community Pool.
Located at Ramona High School behind the buildings on the west side of campus, the pool is open to the public from June 15 through Aug. 14 for open swim, swim lessons and a summer swim team league. The cost is $3 per day per person and family passes are available for $120. According to former Aquatics Director Stacey Dusseault, larger families usually purchase the season passes.
“I like to see more families do that,” she said, “because it’s a really good deal.”
Dusseault coached the high school swim team before taking charge of the pool’s summer aquatics program, overseeing the program from 2004-08. Taking this summer off due to the birth of her second child, she handed the reins over to college student Kyle Roloff, who knows a lot about running the pool.
Having worked on Dusseault’s staff for five years, Roloff now serves as the aquatics director, runs the SwimAmerica swim lesson program and is a coach for Heartland Swim Association (HSA). He, himself, is a competitive swimmer and will enter his sophomore year this fall at Southern Connecticut State University, where he is on their swim team.
“I think he does a great job,” Dusseault said of Roloff. “He brings a lot of new and fresh ideas to the program. The kids love and respect him.”
Although Roloff said the number of children involved with the programs this year is down a bit, probably due to the economy, he added, “On average we are doing very well this year. The kids seem to love it.”
The SwimAmerica program is taught by certified members of the American Swimming Coaches Association who focus on the proper development of stroke technique. The coach to swimmer ratio is 1:2 for preschool and 1:4 for school age students. Children learn at their own rate and can move independently in the program’s “stations” system.
“The teachers are great here,” noted Cindy Nagy, mother of 7-year-old Carly, who is spending her third summer at the pool.
Angela Sawlsville, whose 7-year-old daughter, Lea, is taking swim lessons, said, “As soon as summer started, we came here.”
While SwimAmerica’s first session will end July 10, a second session of lessons will be held July 13 through Aug. 6. The program offers flexibility when signing up for the four-week sessions, allowing participants to pick how many times a week they want to attend.
The cost is $13 per 30-minute lesson for ages 3-5, and $11 per 30-minute lesson for ages 6-14. Parents can sign their children up at any time, since they charge by the lesson. Dusseault said they can always fit people in.
According to Dusseault, the money made from the swim lessons “usually makes enough to pay for the open swim.” The pool is maintained by the Ramona Unified School District and there are about seven lifeguards plus Roloff who are employed.
Although in recent summers Dusseault said the pool has made money, due to the slight drop in attendance, she thinks it will just break even this year.
Open swim is held Monday through Friday afternoons, from 1-4; Friday evenings, from 5-7; and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. Children are allowed to bring soft pool toys and noodles during open swim.
“Floaties” for very young children are not allowed. Roloff said they prefer bathing suits with built-in life vests. A concession stand sells candy, chips, ice cream and other items, but swimmers can also bring their own snacks.
The only evening the pool is available for open swim is on Fridays, when Roloff said they see more families come, including dads.
Although Roloff said they don’t always have a lot of kids every day, there are a number of organizations, such as the boys and girls club, and ESP, the extended student program, that bring in large groups of children.
Dusseault said the pool’s staff has been working with the school district’s special education program for years, providing swim lessons, open swim and special games for the children in special education.
“Our instructors love the program and the kids love it,” she said.
Dusseault is also a former head coach of the Ramona Heartland Swim Association, a swim team league for children ages 6-18 who meet minimum swim requirements.
Roloff, who used to compete with Heartland, is now a coach for the swim league.
“On average we have 12 to 20 kids we intensely train with,” he said.
While some of the team members are competitive swimmers, others do it just to stay in shape, he explained, especially if they play a sport such as water polo.
The Heartland progam is year-round. In the summer, when it is more of a novice program, the Ramona team competes against other Heartland teams. Dual meets in the summer league will be held on Saturdays from mid-July to early August.
The next step up is the Heartland Junior Gold team, and during the rest of the year the Ramona team competes against other club teams in Southern California.
For more information on the swim program, e-mail Aquatics Director Kyle Roloff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 760-789-5759. For more information about the Heartland Swim Association team league, contact 619-593-9252 or check the Web site, www.heartlandswim.org.