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Area lifeguard shortage limits pool schedule ahead of opening date

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Summer weather has finally arrived in central Wisconsin, so residents may be looking to cool down poolside.

Wausau city pools are scheduled to open on Friday June 4, which includes Memorial Pool, Keiser Pool, and Schulenburg pool.

Although pools are set to open, the city still needs help finding an adequate amount of lifeguard staffing. As of right now, every weekend each of the three pools will be open, but at least one day of the week will see a pool closure due to limited staff.

Mark Dorow, Recreation Superintendent with the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department said over the past few summers before the pandemic, there was never a long-term issue of lifeguard shortages.

Dorow said if there was a shortage, it was an easy fix, however times have changed.

"Knowing that we had shut down last year, a lot of staff decided to move onto other jobs or lost their certs because there weren't enough classes to keep those certs from expiring over the last year, " Dorow said.

Dorow highlighted the importance of having lifeguards as primary responsibilities include watching the water, maintaining the safety of patrons to ensure there are no drownings or injuries, as well as upkeeping facilities.

In an effort to recruit qualified candidates, the city is offering a series of free training courses.

The first courses will be this weekend, but there are some prerequisites.

"Those would include swimming a 300-yard front crawl or breath stroke," Dorow said. "They would also have to be able to dive down to about 10-foot at the bottom of the pool to get an object, as well as tread water for two minutes with their hands out of the water."

Classes are filling quickly, so to register click here.

Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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