Atmore's pool open for business

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, June 8, 2005

By by Lee Weyhrich
The pool at Tom Byrne Park is open and so is registration for summer swimming programs.
There are three swimming sessions throughout the summer and three different class times that meet for one hour each day for three weeks.
"We're full with all our classes accept for 9 a.m. and we have plenty of space for them," Swimming Director Austin Rogers said.
According to Rogers there are 30 to 40 people in each class and 150 to 200 people have signed up for the program altogether.
Class sizes do vary depending on other summer programs.
"We have about 150 to 200, but that depends on what's going on in town," Austin said. "It depends on whether or not there is Vacation Bible School or some other program going on."
Austin, 19, has been a part of the swimming program all her life and has worked for the program for the last seven years.
"The children are the best part," Austin said. "When you impact a child's life you have no idea what you do."
Austin's mother, Sheila, has been involved in the program for 33 years and has worked with Huxford Principal and summer programs director Betty Warren to get the program where it is today.
"This is my 33rd year," Sheila said.
In that time the program has taught hundreds of people ranging from two years old to over 90 years old.
"We have adults in the evenings," Sheila said. "We don't have any that have signed up this year. We have lessons from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Year before last we had about six or seven adults."
The evening classes are not just for adults, however.
"At night we will take two-year olds," Sheila said. "We really like to start them at three, but we will take two-year olds."
Four is the minimum age for daytime classes.
"During the day we start at 4 years old," Sheila said.
For Sheila one of the most fun classes is the water aerobics classes.
"We've had some people in their 70s and even some in their 80s in water aerobics
We've had from teenagers up to 80-year-olds in the same class and that's a lot of fun."
Amore is fortunate to have summer swimming programs. The programs draw people from many of the surrounding areas.
Anyone can enjoy the pool between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
"We're open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week and we're also open on Tuesday and Thursday night from 7-9," Austin said.
"I guess that we are one of the very fortunate towns that the city has been able to keep the pool open and keep the price reasonable," Sheila said. "We have a family from Georgia that comes back every year to be able to give their kids swimming lessons. They stay for three weeks with relatives so their kids can be a part of the program. We have people out of Bay Minette, Flomaton and Monroeville that come every year."
Swimming is not the only program offered at the park.
"We also have tennis lessons," Sheila said. "Tennis has really kind of died and we need to push it. We have a program at EA and also at the high school and it would be good to teach these children young so they will be ready for the high school programs."
Sheila agrees with her daughter that the best part of being involved with these programs is the knowledge they have affected a child's life.
"The best part is the swimming lessons and seeing the kids learning to swim," Sheila said. "That's the biggie. That's worth a million dollars right there."

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