Water babies

With high temperatures, the Webster City outdoor pool has been a popular place for all ages. Each day one can be sure to find a large number of kids diving, swimming, and taking advantage of school-free days.

On Monday and Wednesday nights, lifeguards instruct a class designed for toddlers ages four and younger to get comfortable in the water. Aquatots helps children that are too young for swimming lessons experience a positive time in a body of water other than the bath tub.

Morgan Moline, Webster City Outdoor Pool manager, describes the class as a positive way to get kids acquainted with the water. Moline, 21, has been the pool manager for three years and has been a certified lifeguard for four years.

“It’s a way for parents to be in the deep end with the kids and let the kids get used to the water,” Moline said. “This class is just a chance to get little ones use to the water so they are eventually ready for swimming lessons.”

Lifeguards assist with the classes. They play games, bring toys, and even sing nursery rhymes to keep kids excited and calm in the water.

“Occasionally, depending on how the lifeguards feel about singing, they sing different nursery rhymes and the parents will swim in a circle,” said Moline. “Other days they might practice kicking or blowing bubbles.”

The class is split into two age groups. From 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. six-month-olds to two-year-olds splash, play, and enjoy the water.

“There is a big development difference for the first class, but I think the lifeguards do a good job of finding ways to differentiate for the ages,” Moline said.

From 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ages three and four take their turn.

“This in an introductory phase for the kids. It’s very casual,” Moline said. “It’s fun for the parents and the kids.”

Dan Brown has been bringing his 17-month old daughter, Elora, to Aquatots because bath time was a struggle.

“I’m trying to get her acquainted with the water because at bath time she isn’t always the most excited. She’s kind of afraid of the water,” said Brown. “In the pool it’s a lot better. She doesn’t mind getting her face wet. Here she is more open to splashing around and having fun.”

Moline explained the benefits of getting kids in the water sooner.

“If they are in the water some other place than a bath tub, they are going to be less afraid of the water later on and more willing to get in the water, dunk their heads, splash, and get wet,” said Moline.

“It’s just a good way to get the kids familiarized with the water and have fun,” said Jess Howard. Howard and her daughter Sophie, age 2, both seemed to enjoy the water Monday night.

Brittney Mortenson and her daughter, Caroline, 15 months, attend the class to interact with others and cool off.

“It’s a great way to have her interact with the water and other kids and try something new,” said Mortenson. “It’s also a way to stay cool.”

“I think a lot of kids come to swimming lessons or to the pool with their parents afraid of the water,” said Moline. “I think the earlier you can get the kids in the water, the better.”

Aquatots will hold it’s last summer session tonight. The program is also held at Fuller Hall during the winter season.

The outdoor pool will close for the season on August 21. “It’s been a great season so far,” said Moline. “I’m really impressed with the lifeguard staff. Their attitudes are great and they are willing to work hard.”