Swim season is only a few short weeks away, and area town employees are busy building their staffs to enjoy a festive kickoff for Memorial Day weekend.
Residents can expect the same features at pools from Clear Brook to New Market and Strasburg to Front Royal, but this year will bring some new programming and even some lower admission rates from last year.
In the interest of adding services or accommodating more people, towns have been working to increase their staff numbers, in spite of the potential difficulty of attracting more lifeguards to small-town pools in the weeks leading up to pool season.
In southern Shenandoah County, the challenge New Market Town Manager Todd Walters has had in recent weeks is growing his guard staff.
“We are still looking for lifeguards,” he said near the end of April. “I think we and other pools are struggling to find lifeguards.”
The New Market Community Pool has a shallow end, a deep end with a diving board, and a kiddie area.
Summer pool passes are $60 for patrons 12 and older or $50 for children 11 and younger.
Daily admission rates are $4 for those 12 and older, and $3 for children 6 to 11. Those younger than 6 get in free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Pool parties range from $125 to $200 based on the number of attendees. Call 540-740-3362 to make a reservation.
Though they’re still ironing out hours of operation, times will likely be the same as in past years: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Memorial Day weekend, with a weekends-only schedule in August when children return to school, and continuing through Sept. 2.
But Walters said hours will be subject to change depending on how many lifeguards sign up for the season.
“We could use four to five more,” Walters said in April. Applicants must be certified as lifeguards to administer CPR and first aid.
For more information, call Donna Lohr at the New Market Town Office at 540-740-3432.
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The last day of school in Shenandoah County is May 23, and the Mount Jackson Town Swimming Pool will open for the season at 1 p.m. that day.
Though they aren’t in need of as many last-minute guards as New Market is, Town Clerk Debbie Stover said she’s familiar with talk of a shortage around the area.
“I have heard that with some of the surrounding towns,” Stover said. “[But] we have a fair amount of applications.”
Some applicants worked there last year, but she said the pool can still use more. They have 10 or 11 applicants so far, but she said they’ll need around 14 lifeguards for the season.
Mount Jackson’s pool at 326 Wunder St. offers $4 admission to patrons 12 and older, $2 for children 5 to 11, and free admission to those 4 and younger.
Individual summer passes are $50 and family passes are $110 for up to six people.
Pool hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through July.
The pool season is affected by the county’s school schedule, which begins fall classes on Aug. 5. Once school starts, the pool will open only on weekends through Labor Day.
Call the pool at 540-477-2670 for more information, or visit the town website at https://www.mountjackson.com/life-in-mount-jackson.
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At Strasburg Town Pool, nailing down hours was also a recent concern, but not for reasons of staffing. Instead, the struggle was coordinating time for public swimmers and swim team members, said Strasburg Economic Development and Marketing Manager Michelle Bixler.
“We are not going to have any new features this year,” Bixler said, “although we are working on extended hours.”
To accommodate area swim teams, the town hopes to keep the pool open later, Bixler said.
The pool, at 295 Park Road, will open for the season on May 23. Hours that day will be 1 to 7 p.m. The pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. that Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Until June 8, general pool hours will be 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
After June 8, the pool will be open till 7 p.m. each day to accommodate swim teams.
During the week of June 24, public swim on weekdays will be from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.
The pool will be closed for a swim meet July 7.
From Aug. 5 to 30, public swim hours are scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with normal weekend hours.
Strasburg’s last day of the pool season will be Labor Day, Sept. 2. Public swim will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Because of swim meets, local holidays and school hours, the town will post a monthly schedule at the pool so swimmers can stay up to date on time changes.
Admission rates are $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, $2 for children 3 to 5, and free for children 2 and younger accompanied by a paying adult.
Seasonal punch passes are available for preschoolers at $20 each, students at $30, adults at $40, and families at $175. All passes allow 10 admissions. After 10 visits, the 11th is free.
Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Swim lessons are available June 24-28 and July 1-5. Levels 1 and 2 will meet from 9 to 10 a.m., and levels 3 and 4 will meet from 10 to 11 a.m. Lessons cost $65. Children must be 3 years old and levels will be assigned based on comfort and skills on the first day of class. Register at the Strasburg Town Office, 174 E. King St., Strasburg.
Senior Swim, weekdays from 10 to 11 a.m., is 50 cents per swimmer, but will not take place on swim lesson days.
Pool parties can be scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. with two lifeguards and a manager for $125 and a maximum of 40 swimmers. Additional lifeguards are $25 for every 20 additional swimmers. Schedule through the town office.
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The Edinburg Pool opens on May 25. Hours are the same as they were last year: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The season continues through Labor Day.
Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for children 5 to 17, and $1 for children 4 and younger. Season passes are $125 for in-town families and $140 for out-of-town families, $70 for an in-town individual and $80 for an out-of-town individual.
Pool parties may be scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday for $115. For more information or to schedule a party, call the town office at 540-984-8521.
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The Woodstock Pool, which opens Memorial Day weekend, will have the same hours and admission rates as last year, said town Treasurer Dee Ebersole.
Though she said they have enough lifeguards to fill out the staff, they could always use more.
Most staff members are in high school or college, she said. “We’re always looking for lifeguards, even when the season’s going on.”
Admission rates are $5 for adults, $4 for children age 6 to 18, and $3 for children 1 to 5.
In-town season passes range from $35 for preschoolers to $65 for adults. Out-of-town passes run from $50 for preschoolers to $80 for adults. Family passes are $150 for in-town residents or $165 for out-of-town residents. Additional family member passes are $25.
Discounted season passes start July 15 and run through Labor Day, ranging from $17.50 to $40 for individuals. Discounted family passes are $75 for in-town residents and $82.50 for out-of-town residents. Additional discounted family member passes are $12.50.
The pool opens for the season at 1 p.m. May 24. The season runs through Labor Day.
Regular season hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Once school begins in August, the pool will have shorter hours still to be determined based on lifeguard availability. Hours will also be different during the week of the Shenandoah County Fair, Aug. 26-31, and on Labor Day weekend.
Lap swim will be from 6:30 to 8 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 8 to 9 a.m. Sundays.
For more information, call the pool at 540-459-3121 or visit https://www.townofwoodstockva.com.
In Warren County, the Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool at 50 Stadium Drive, Front Royal, has already signed on and trained all of its lifeguards. The pool will be open Memorial Day weekend but will have its official season opener on June 7.
Memorial Day weekend hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 5:30 p.m. that Monday.
Regular season hours are also noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Lap swim is available from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. June 18-28 and July 9-19 (the same as swim lesson days.) Admission for lap swim is $1.
General admission is $5 for adults 16 to 54 years old, $4.50 for youth 6 to 15, and $2.50 for children 3 to 5 years old. Seniors 55 and older and military are admitted for $3.50, and children 2 or younger get in free.
Families of four can get in for $15. Group rates of 20 or more can request a form for a 20 percent discount. All admission is half price after 4 p.m.
Season passes are $110 for youth, $125 for adults (16 to 54), $85 for military and seniors, $185 for a single family (one adult and one child) or $265 for families (two adults and two children) with $50 for each additional family member.
Pool rentals are available from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer season. The rental rate is $250, and rentals must be made at least two weeks in advance.
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In Frederick County, Sherando and Clearbrook pools have some new things planned this season after opening on May 25.
New at both pools will be free lap swim from 8 to 9 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays from June 10 to Aug. 9.
The Sherando Pool, at 201 Splash Ave. in Stephens City, will host its Family Campout on June 21, which includes admission to the pool that evening. For more details, visit www.fcprd.net.
The Clearbrook Park Pool, at 3300 Martinsburg Pike in Clear Brook, will host a showing of “Jaws” at its Film and Float Series on July 20. Bring a float and watch the film from the pool. Tickets are $5.
So far, finding county lifeguards hasn’t been an issue, said Sarah Young, program supervisor of aquatics for Frederick County Parks and Recreation.
“We are looking forward to a great summer and a great staff,” she said.
Both pools will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 25 to 27. Regular season hours run from June 6 to Aug. 9, noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. From Aug. 10 to Sept. 2, the pools will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends only.
Admission this year is half of what it was last year: $2 for everyone 3 and older, $1 during the last hour each day, and free to younger children.
Young said the county was able to save money by filling in their baby swimming pools and hopes that by offering more options for pool rentals and lower admission rates they can attract more visitors.
"People look to Frederick County Parks and Recreation for health and wellness," she stated in an email. "The overall goal is to get folks to the pools to promote community health and wellness, and we are hoping this decrease in admission prices will help to accomplish this!"
Call Sherando Pool at 540-665-5678 or Clearbrook Park Pool at 540-665-6361.