Summer swim lessons feel impact of pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Now that pools are open again, parents are rushing to get their children in swim lessons. The high demand is overwhelming swim schools in the metro.

Kay’s All Swim School in Albuquerque is open and running but not everything has been smooth sailing during the pandemic. “We lost our staffing and a minimum of two swimmers is hard financially. This year when we got ready to open, the mandates were the same; and then when the mandates opened up, you can’t just magically pull staff out of the air to teach,” explains owner, Kay Quisenberry. 

Now that the state is back open, the swim school is booked for the rest of the summer season. In fact, all swim schools in the metro are filled up.

Swim instructors at Kay’s All Swim School teach in shields – there are only two to three swimmers in the pool at a time and dressing rooms remain closed. 

The city of Albuquerque says they are also seeing a huge demand for swim lessons this summer. “It’s like everybody heard that the pools were going to open up back to their original capacities on July 1 and the floodgates, pardon the pun, just opened up,” explains Brandon Eagan, the head pool manager for the Sandia Pool Cluster. 

Since the beginning of July, the city has opened up one thousand more spots, but those slots have quickly filled up. Eagan shares, “We tried to make sure that we had more lifeguards, aquatic aids, that sort of thing that would be able to help with those swim lessons and also a little bit more time at each of the pools offering night lessons at some of them.”

Quisenberry is concerned that many children won’t be able to enroll in swim lessons this year. “Children were home and because people couldn’t spend vacation money, they put pools in their backyard so our concern is there will be an uptick in drownings. So kiddos need to learn how to swim,” Quisenberry says.  

She stresses the importance of getting children used to being in the water even if they can’t get lessons this summer. She suggests, “Get them exposed to the water and start working on the water safety so that when they can enter lessons they’ll learn very quickly.”

There are still a few spots open through the city of Albuquerque. Registration for fall swim lessons will open on August 1. 

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