A summer tradition as old as the season itself has returned to Schuyler.

Schuyler Municipal Swimming Pool opened for the season on May 25, meaning that Schuyler residents will have their yearly opportunity to cool off during the hot, humid Nebraska summer months.

The pool has seen many changes since it was initially built alongside the Oak Ballroom in 1937 as a Works Progress Administration project. Small water slides have been added, two kiddie pools line the main attraction and a diving board is available for children of any age to leap off. But maybe the most noticeable addition to the pool was something rare among aquatic attractions: a rock climbing wall.

“Last year, we put up the climbing wall,” said Veronica Nepper, manager of Schuyler Municipal Swimming Pool. “The kids like it a lot. It’s usually got somebody on it.”

Nepper said more than 150 people usually come to the pool on a regular day. However, with hot summer heat bearing down on Nebraska, sometimes a swell of people come in to receive some refreshment.

“The other day, we had 286 people,” Nepper said of attendance numbers. “We like those days because it’s nice when the pool is busy. On the weekends, families start doing things like camping, or they may have places along the river. On the weekends, they disperse a little bit, so we don’t have quite as many people here. But during the week, we bring in quite a few.”

While most come to the pool to get a reprieve from the heat, some come to get in a bit of exercise or to learn how to better work with the water. Swim lessons are provided every weekday for every age, from preschoolers to the elderly. There is also a series of water aerobics provided each night, which Nepper compares to a Zumba class in water.

“It’s Zumba-like,” Nepper said. “It’s not Zumba, (but) it’s similar to that. I didn’t go to the Zumba training, but it’s very similar to the things that they do in Aqua-Zumba.”

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A group of young lifeguards helps keep pool-goers safe, while also providing guidance with private swimming lessons. Lifeguard Kameryn Healy said that the training and behind-the-scenes work that goes into being a lifeguard is worth it in the end.

“We do a lot of training, but it’s worth it for how easy our job is,” Healy said. “We have multiple weekends where we have to do training for how we go rescue kids (and) CPR training. Every year, we have to recertify by taking tests. I feel like our training is tough, but it’s all fun. We make it fun.”

Healy said that she knows most of the kids that come to the pool on a regular basis, which in her mind, makes it a much more relaxing environment for the children.

“When you know them it makes things fun because they’re a lot more comfortable with you,” Healy said. “I think it’s just a fun pool to be at.”

While the rock climbing wall and the slides have provided a boost to pool attendance, there are plans in the works to go beyond the basic amenities. Nepper said that bigger slides could be on the way, but that plans have been put on the back burner due to a lack of obvious space.

Still, she hopes that people come to the pool in droves during the course of the summer, looking for a chance to have some fun, cool down, hang out with friends and catch some sun.

“I would like to see an increase in our volume,” Nepper said. “It’s much more fun to lifeguard a pool that has people in it.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at zach.roth@lee.net.

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