King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove visited the Mount Rainier Pool on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021 to present a check for $5,000 to support the pool’s Swim Club and its Lifeguard Prep Course.

Upthegrove (right) presents an oversized $5,000 check to Shane Young, President of the elected Board of Commissioners that runs the pool.

“I love the way Mount Rainier Pool has responded to the needs of the community by creating a free youth swim club for those who might otherwise not be able to participate due to financial barriers,” Upthegrove said. “And the lifeguard prep course not only provides youth with future jobs, it helps the pool secure qualified lifeguards who live locally and want to work at their community pool. I am excited to provide support to ensure that these two programs can continue into the future.”

In the late Spring 2021, the staff of the Mount Rainier Pool realized that many of the groups who previously used the pool would not be doing so over the summer due to COVID-19.

“Even though the statistics and professional organizations indicated that things would re-open, organizations were not planning on being available during the summer,” said Aquatics Manager, Lauryne Thurmond. “We realized that we would need to develop programming to fill the holes these programs would create in our schedule.”

In response, the pool decided to start two new programs to fill their afternoon time slots: MRP Swim Club and a Lifeguard Prep Course. The MRP Swim Club was for youth aged 9-13 who had completed swim lessons but could not afford to participate on a competitive swim team. The Lifeguard Prep course was for older youth aged 14-18.

“We get many youth who want to work for us and are not able to pass the lifeguard skills of swimming 300 yards and treading water for three minutes,” said Aquatics Coordinator, Quentin Knox. “Our goal was to create a program where members of the community could work on these and other lifeguarding skills in a fun and relaxing atmosphere.”

Both programs ran mid-June through mid-August and were free and partially funded by a grant secured by Councilmember Upthegrove. The new funding will allow the programs to continue in the future.