Arwyn Sweet makes a big splash after jumping into the pool last summer. (Michelle Vlasak/southernminn.com)

After a wavy start to the 2020 season, the Kenyon Pool is making a splash with a fresh start for 2021.

The Kenyon Pool was slated to open Monday, with swimming lessons and water aerobics classes held as usual since the outdoor and swimming pool COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted by the governor. No additional restrictions or changes are in place at the pool beyond regular rules/policies.

In a May meeting, the Kenyon City Council approved the hiring of 13 lifeguards, two of which are water safety instructor certified. Cheryl Dahl will serve as the pool manager for another year with Sam Erickon as the assistant manager.

The council approved a $1 increase in wages for lifeguards, following a recommendation from Dahl to keep the lifeguards in the local area. City Administrator Mark Vahlsing also recommended increasing pool employee wages in order to compete with neighboring towns for qualified employees.

Council member Mary Bailey commended the lifeguards for the great job they do and said they deserve a wage increase.

Molly Ryan, also a Council member, agreed it’s important to keep wages similar to what other towns are paying, or the city risks losing some lifeguards to other areas.

The pool in Kenyon will be open through Aug. 22. Hours after Aug. 22 are dependent on staff availability.

For local resident Rachel Ahsenmacher, the opening pool party is always a favorite for her and her children.

“What better way to start off the summer,” Ahsenmacher answered in a post from the Kenyon Leader’s Facebook page.

She’s also appreciative of the city’s dollar swim nights. As someone with five children, the special offer makes for an affordable night for her family.

Yvette Perez Stevenson on the other hand enjoys attending water aerobics classes with the “ladies and some gentlemen” in the community.

“It’s the best time ever! And the instructors are amazing,” Perez Stevenson exclaimed her response.

Swimming ahead northeast

The city pool in Wanamingo, too, opened June 7, with an expected Labor Day closure (again depending on lifeguard availability). Pool managers Julie and Dylan Steberg said at a previous Wanamingo City Council meeting that they had 20 new lifeguard applicants with eight returning guards. There were also plans to hire nine new guards.

Kenyon-Wanamingo seniors Daniel and Katie Van Epps were scheduled to get WSI certified to teach swimming lessons.

A request was also made to purchase water aerobics weights. It was reported that City Administrator Michael Boulton will work with the pool manager to gather estimates for the cost of the weights to see if the request can be worked into the pool’s 2021 budget.

Reach reporter Michelle Vlasak at 507-333-3128 or follow her on Twitter @apgmichelle. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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