Original post on KidSwim.org on March 28th, 2014
Everyone’s excited about swim season. It really is the best way for children to get several hours of exercise without even knowing it. To them, its all fun and games. Here are some tips for a smooth transition after the ‘cold’ winter LA months.
1) Do a test run with your pool heater and pump. Often after a winter of no use, pool heaters need to be serviced, pumps replaced, filters cleaned or fixed. Its always better to do it before you have a group of excited children ready to dive in, only to find that your pool is 74 degrees and the pump isn’t working.
2) Remember that initially it takes several days for a pool to heat up. Once your pool is at a temperature that you like, you can either maintain that temp or drop it back to a reasonable 80 or 82 so getting it back up to where you want it only takes a couple of hours.
3) Assume your swimmers have regressed. With the exception of children above age 6, most children forget a variety of their skills for the first couple of days. Younger ones (3-5) may even forget that they can swim! Don’t be alarmed, this is perfectly normal and with a few practice runs or some refresher lessons, they will be up to speed in no time.
4) Don’t forget your older kids too. Even though they are water safe, have been swimming for years, they will be going to camp (often sleepaway), end of school swim parties, beach activities, etc.. It’s a good idea to have them brush up on their skills as well and even make some refinements with technique (until age 11 or 12, technique should be the #1 focus for lessons).
5) Check your deck. Pool covers, gates, decks themselves... There may be wear and tear and often decks need some tiles or concrete areas replaced. Look for sharp, jutting edges in the tiles.
6) Resurfacing. For some pools, after a few years, the pool itself needs to be resurfaced. This is when the smooth bottom becomes rough and sandpapery, causing abrasions and general discomfort. You’ll know right away if you need it done. It takes a few weeks to complete the process; draining the pool, resurfacing, letting it dry, refilling, treating, heating.
7) Trim the trees. Believe it or not, this is a biggie. It is lovely to have lush foliage around the pool area, but often leaves, flowers, seeds will fall right into the pool, clogging the drains, causing the pump to back up which shuts it down and turns off the heat. You can solve this problem by having a retractable cover on the pool but in general, trimming back a bit before the season hits helps tremendously.
Hope this helps! Have a fantastic season and we’ll see you in the pool!