Getting into the swim

Since I got involved with the campaign to save the North Country Community College pool, several people have told me, “I didn’t know the pool was open to the public.” Other people have said that they would like to use the pool, but they don’t know when it’s open, how to pay for admission, how to sign up for classes or where to change their clothes. Everyone knows that swimming is a terrific way to exercise, but going to a new pool for the first time can be a little intimidating. If you’ve been thinking about getting into the swim, here’s how to do it.

The NCCC pool has regular “open swim” hours. Also offered: water aerobics and lifeguard certification classes, and swim lessons for children, adolescents and adults.

The new water aerobics classes have been so popular that early evening classes will be added in November. Because water aerobics is easy on the joints, it’s an ideal exercise for people with back or weight issues, arthritis or fragile bones.

Morning water aerobics classes begin in late August and take place at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday morning from Aug. 27 to Dec. 12. The evening classes will be offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30 from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12. A class costs $10 for drop-ins, but you can save money if you buy a punch card for eight or 16 classes. For more information, contact instructor Debbie Fox via email at debbifox@hotmail.com or contact Facilities Manager Jerrad Dumont at jdumont@nccc.edu. 

Open swim hours are available when the college is in session. This fall, more late afternoon times will be available for open swim. Here’s the schedule for Aug. 26 to Dec. 12:

¯ Monday, noon to 7 p.m.

¯ Tuesday, 10 p.m. to 4 p.m.

¯ Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

¯ Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

¯ Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

¯ Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

¯ Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The pool sometimes closes for holidays or special events. You can pick up a brochure on the front table as you enter the gym. Jerrad Dumont sends out email notifications about unanticipated pool closings. To get on his list, email jdumont@nccc.edu.

There are several ways to pay for admission to the pool. A single swim costs $7 per adult, $4 for kids and seniors and $20 per family of four. Kids under 4 are free. The cost per swim is less if you buy a 10-swim punch card or a membership. NCCC alumni get a discount on membership. NCCC students, faculty and staff get free admission.

So once you’ve paid the admission fee, what do you do? The locker rooms are right down the hall from the front desk. You can change your clothes and shower. Lockers are available to store your clothes while you swim. The pool has six lanes. Lap swimmers sometimes share a lane with another person. If you need to share, it’s polite to ask the other swimmer if they mind sharing. (No one has ever told me they don’t want to share.) People of all ages and skill levels use the pool, so don’t feel intimidated if you’re not Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecki.

The next session of Red Cross swim lessons starts Sept. 10. “Infant and Child Aquatics” prepares children age 3 and under to get ready to swim by emphasizing fun in the water. “Intro to Water Skills” is for children ages 3 to 6 who are comfortable in the water with a flotation device. “Level 3” classes teach stroke development and distance swimming. Starting in November, NCCC is offering two new Red Cross classes: “Swimming and Skills Proficiency for 13-18 year olds” and “Adult Swim Lessons.”

For more information on the Red Cross swim lessons, contact the NCCC registrar’s office at records@nccc.edu or 518-891-2915 ext. 1689. The registration form is located on the NCCC website, www.nccc.edu — “Academics” tab — “Center for Lifelong Learning”“Course Registration.”

If you’re interested in becoming a lifeguard, you can take a lifeguard certification class at the NCCC pool. Locally, there’s a shortage of qualified lifeguards, so you won’t have trouble finding a job after you’re qualified. Contact Debbie Fox for more information: debbifox@hotmail.com 

To learn about classes and other events — like Kids Nite Out, which take place on Friday nights in the winter — please “like” the “Save the NCCC Pool” page on Facebook. If we get new information about the pool’s future, we’ll post that, too.

The NCCC pool is a terrific resource. The pool plays a vital role in water safety in our community. In 2018, 120 children took swimming lessons at the pool. This year, 32 people took the first lifeguard certification class and more lifeguards will be certified during the second session. Many of these lifeguards take jobs at our beaches or at local summer camps. The fire department’s search and rescue team trains at the NCCC pool. The pool also makes members of our community healthier. At the “Save the Pool” meeting last February, local residents with disabilities spoke of the important role that the pool plays in maintaining and improving their health. 

Safety and health are two key reasons why we hope that the pool stays open. Another reason is that the pool is a place for individuals and families to get exercise and enjoy themselves. If you haven’t yet visited the pool, stop by and see how easy it is to get into the swim. You’ll be glad you did.

Susan Hahn lives in Ray Brook.