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Lifeguard shortage strikes Barton Springs Pool

Friday, March 11, 2022 by Tai Moses

We were afraid this would happen, and now, it’s happening: Starting March 21, Barton Springs Pool will close two days a week – Mondays and Wednesdays – “due to a lack of available certified Open Water lifeguards,” according to a news release from the parks department. (The pool already closes every Thursday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. for cleaning.) This whole problem started during spring break of 2020, when the Aquatic Division halted its lifeguard training program because of Covid-19. Even though training started up again in spring 2021, the division has not been able to build its lifeguard stable back up to the numbers necessary to staff all of the city’s pools. Being no ordinary swimming pool, Barton Springs requires special lifeguards who have the additional Open Water Guard certification and training, and currently there are only 23 such certified guards. The new, attenuated schedule “will continue until a sufficient number of guards can be hired, trained and certified.” If you simply must swim on Mondays and Wednesdays, check out the city’s pool schedule for alternative options. (Barton Springs’ 5-8 a.m. “swim at your own risk” swim times will not be affected by the closure.)

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