Ricky Aceves, 4, is all grins during a recent swim lesson at the community pool at Ramona High School. Sentinel photo/Jessica King
By Jessica King
Proving education can be fun, some of Ramona’s youngest residents frolic their way through swim lessons in the pool at Ramona High School this summer.
The Ramona Community Pool is open eight weeks out of the year to area youngsters for swim lessons in the morning and late afternoons, and to residents of all ages for open swims during peak afternoon hours. The rest of the year, it is reserved for the Bulldogs.
The summer swim lessons offered at the pool are popular, touting very small teacher-to-student ratios and flexible class schedules, according to RUSD Swim Program Director Kyle Roloff.
“We’re very motivated to teach the kids to swim with proper technique, but we’re also very focused on teaching proper water safety, because that’s the No. 1 priority, to keep the kids safe and alive,” said Roloff.
The lessons are open to ages 3 through 15 and feature an average instructor-to-student ratio of one instructor to two preschoolers and one instructor to four school-aged students.
Parents do not have to commit their children to a set schedule. They can choose how
many times a week they want a lesson, and from there choose daily time slots that work for them. So, for example, if a parent can bring a child earlier in the day on Mondays but only later in the afternoon on Wednesdays, that’s fine.
“We understand that it is summer break but parents still have to work and some have vacation plans so we try to maintain that flexibility,” explained Roloff.
Parents also only pay for the lessons they use.
The cost for swim lessons are $13 per 30-minute lesson for a preschooler, and $11 per 30-minute lessons for school-aged students.
“We don’t pretend we can really teach a kid to be a great professional swimmer in a matter of weeks because truth is, no one can learn to be a great professional swimmer in that time,” said Roloff. “It takes years of training, but it’s a start.”
The most inexperienced swimmers start by learning the basics, including how to float, how to “crab walk” around the pool using their hands and how to hold their breath under water without panicking.
“I tell my guards to push the kids but don’t let them know they’re being pushed, just let them have fun and do cool things they didn’t know they could do before,” said Roloff.
For the rest of Ramona, open swim hours at the pool are from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Cost to use the pool during open swim is $3 per person, regardless of age. Families may also purchase a summer swim pass for $120.
The pass is good for all immediate family members.
During open swim, three certified lifeguards are on duty. Showers and bathrooms are open, along with a snack bar.
Roloff estimates an average 30 to 40 people a day take advantage of open swim.
Some bring their own food and have small birthday parties, which are perfectly OK, according to Roloff. Others bring swim toys, which is OK, too, as long as they’re used responsibly and don’t intrude on other swimmers, he said.
Also, those looking to swim laps can request a lane and lifeguards will rope off a section of the pool for them.
To learn more about the pool or to sign up for swim lessons, Ramona residents can contact Roloff at email@example.com or 760-803-3506.