Phoenix aquatic supervisor aims to prevent drownings, improve adult swim skills

All city of Phoenix pools are now open. (file photo)

Phoenix residents will see changes in the city of Phoenix’s pool schedules this summer as the city will begin to offer swimming lessons for adults four days a week at several of its 29 pools.

Becky Hulett, aquatic supervisor for the city of Phoenix, saw a need for adult swimming lessons and is making it happen, according to a press release.

Now the image of adults splashing across an Olympic-size pool without getting winded is a possibility, Ms. Hulett says. And there may be an opportunity to win swimming races with kids and grandkids.

The adult swim classes called Silver Star will be held Mondays through Thursdays, from 6 to 8 p.m., and before noon, the press release states.

The classes are 35 minutes long, and the cost is $15 for two weeks.  Interested persons can go to the website at phoenix.gov/parks/pool/lessons and click on Adult Lessons & Fitness Programs, Silver Star.

Becky Hulett

Ms. Hulett takes her responsibilities seriously as aquatic supervisor for Phoenix’s 29 pools.

She, along with her staff of three full-time recreation coordinators, train, educate and direct the aquatic programs. She employs approximately 525 to operate the 29 pools, of which 200 are new to the job every year.

When she was 13-years-old, Ms. Hulett witnessed a relative drowning in Lake Superior and she has never forgotten the experience, the press release stated. Ending drownings is her desire.

“Every drowning struggle is different” Ms. Hulett said in the press release. “The lifeguards are our first responders and their work is critical to the victim’s outcome.”

The safety of pool guests is a priority. Lifeguards are thoroughly trained in a 20-hour Starguard course followed by weekly in-service training throughout the summer in order to continue practicing their skills.

They learn to scan, assess, identify and respond to a weak non-swimmer or people in trouble in the water.

Last year there were 275 rescues at the 29 pools.

In the summer of 2015, Ms. Hulett began the automatic swim tests for people who swim in water chest-deep. The test includes jumping in water taller than them, swimming across the pool, treading water and being comfortable in water that is above their heads.

Ms. Hulett has been with the city of Phoenix since 1993, and began her career as a lifeguard.

She comes from Spearfish, S.D., and has always been accustomed to water.  She is a former elementary school teacher and her background includes teaching, swimming and educating lifeguards.

Ms. Hulett is a board member of the Association of Aquatic Professionals, an association dedicated to professional growth and development of aquatic professionals to prevent drownings. One of the main goals of the Association of Aquatic Professionals is to provide drowning prevention education to aquatic professionals, operators of swimming pools and facilities, as well as the general public.

Ms. Hulett says she hopes that mature learners will realize that swimming’s a life skill, and she wants the city’s swimming programs to be “the best we can be.”

City pools are now open for the summer.

Pool hours for 13 pools are from 1 to 6 p.m., and 1 to 7 p.m. for the remaining 16 pools, Monday through Thursday. Weekend hours for all pools are 1 to 7 p.m.

The city of Phoenix offers swimming classes for children on Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., which are 35 minutes in length.The cost for children’s classes is $15 for two weeks.

City pools also feature swim and diving team competitions, six weeks in length.

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