Ah, summer at the pool...

"I love the atmosphere at the pool. The patrons and staff are very enjoyable and make it fun managing the pool," said Chatfield swimming pool manager Michelle Olig, anticipating the arrival of summer and the pool's opening this Thursday, June 5.

A long, grueling winter has finally given way to spring and thoughts of actually putting on bathing suits. Swimmers are more confident about rolling out beach towels and splashing in the water, something most Minnesotans feel is only a memory...the distant idea of gliding through cool, chlorinated water with a pair of bug-eyed swim goggles suctioned to one's face.

Olig remembers how the hot sun blessed the pool staff with plenty of people to watch. "Last year, with the very warm weather, we had a very busy summer," she said.

Olig has this year's pool staff hired and they are ready to climb up and take their watch and to give swimming lessons to children.

"The staff is hired and will go through their training the week of June 2. They will be trained and ready to open the pool June 5," she said. "We have three new lifeguards and 16 returning lifeguards, and the first lesson of swimming lessons will begin June 16 and run through June 27."

Olig continued, "Our swimming lessons are for ages 5 through 12 - in level one through level six - and we also have preschool lessons for 2- through 5-year-olds. A parent must be in the water during preschool lessons."

The pool will open on Thursday, June 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Normal hours, Sunday through Friday, are 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays are noon to 6 p.m.

"We have family swim on Wednesdays and Sundays from 5 to 7 p.m.," Olig said. "An adult must be with the child during family swim. Patrons are allowed to bring in floaties and toys on Saturdays and on family swim nights."

Olig also explained the Chatfield pool offers water aerobics from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"Pool hours and rules are the same as last year, and passes are currently available at city hall, but once the pool opens, they will be available to purchase there," she added. "Family passes cover only immediate family members that live in the same household."

Since the Chatfield swimming pool is an outdoor pool, the weather will determine whether swimmers can jump in or if they must stay home.

"The pool will close if it is raining too hard to see the bottom of the pool, and immediately if thunder is heard or lightning is spotted," Olig said. "If Fillmore or Olmsted County is in a thunderstorm warning, we have to close the pool."

She advised parents who send their children to the pool unaccompanied to be sure they aren't afraid to paddle, kick and fend for themselves in the water.

"Make sure your child knows how to swim on their own before sending them to the pool," Olig added. "Have them bring sunscreen along and follow the rules of the pool."

Olig hopes to greet swimmers of all ages and welcome them to the Chatfield swimming pool to float, bob, jump, race and play together while making the most of Minnesota's summertime.

"We are hoping for great, warm weather again this summer to have a busy summer," she concluded.

For more information, call Chatfield's city hall at (507) 867-3810 or the Chatfield swimming pool at (507) 867-3509.