Recreational Swim Pool Schedule

Sonora High School Aquatics Center:

Monday through Friday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Columbia Pool, Twain Harte Pool, Tuolumne Pool:

Monday through Saturday: 1 p.m. to 5p.m.

Sunday: Closed

“Family Nights” Pool Schedule

Sonora High School Aquatics Center:

Sunday: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Columbia Pool and Tuolumne Pool:

Saturday: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Twain Harte:

Friday: 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

All county pools and recreational aquatics activities will open on Friday, just in time to cool off an early summer heat wave where temperatures have brushed up against triple digits.

“It's summertime now,” said Tuolumne County Recreation Manager Eric Aitken. “It's that time of year where recreation really ramps up. It's our busy time and we really look forward to that. We get to teach a lot of new kids and build community. That’s what recreation is, bringing people together,” he said.

The Tuolumne County Recreation Department hosts recreational swimming, lap swimming, family swimming and lessons at four pools in the county — Sonora, Columbia, Twain Harte and Tuolumne.

Aitken said not much was unique about this year compared to years past. He said each pool was set to open on time and with full staffing to provide the traditional summer program to Tuolumne County youth.

“For the most part, we are looking to offer the same programs we have for the last couple years,” Aitken said.

Aitken said about 28 lifeguards were currently in training, refreshing on life-saving skills and returning back to the water. He said it was less than the previous year, but an additional training would occur in July to bring on more staff.

“I would feel a lot better if I had closer to 40,” he said.

Aitken said online registrations for swim lessons and programs closed Wednesday night. He said though still interested in participating in swim programs could register at the pools of their choice.

He said approximately 200 people were enrolled in swim lessons so far between the four pools.

The pools will also host “family swim” nights after recreational swim hours.

“We’re trying to get the whole family out there, so it's a lot more low key,” Aitken said. “We try and get both mom and dad out there to enjoy the pools as a family unit.”

The cost for recreational, family and lap swims are $2 for ages three to 17, and for above 62. The price for ages between 18 and 61 is $3.

The pools also offer a family rate (which includes two adults and their children) for $8 during family night and recreational swim, as well as ticket books between $40 and $60, which Aitken said represented a 20 percent discount.

Despite consistent participation every summer, Aitken acknowledged the recreational aquatics program was not a profit-making venture.

“The board has established that we only recover 30 percent of the cost for all youth programs,” Aitken said. “The board has prioritized that we offer these at a reduced rate for the youth so we can get more kids participating in these programs.”

About 90 percent of the recreational swimmers are youths, he said.

The entire recreation budget was approximately $760,000 this year, which includes administrative costs for overseeing Standard Park, youth centers and all other summer recreation.

The recreational department brought in between $70,000 and $80,000 in revenue from aquatics programs last year, he said, which was lower than previous years because summer fires occaisonly forced the closure of county pools.

The recreation department brings in approximately $152,000 for all summer recreation programs, he said.

The costs of pool maintenance and paying staff very easily dwarfs the revenues brought in, Aitken said.

“In recreation we are a service business, so we rely heavily on staff to run those businesses,” Aitken said.

The county owns the Tuolumne Pool and Twain Harte Pool and manages the properties. They have a long-term lease with Columbia Elementary School for the use of their pool, he said.

The Recreational Department pays the Sonora Union High School District a rental rate of $15,000 to use the pool, with the district handling maintenance and facility management.

The Recreational Department and the district coordinated use of the pool during the off-season so the Sonora High School water polo team could also use the facility over summer, Aitken said.

The National Weather Service said temperatures on Wednesday were reaching into the high 90s county-wide, but were in the low to mid 90s in Sonora. A gradual cooldown would come through the weekend, dropping highs to the high 80s and low 90s, but temperatures were expected to rise again next week to above normal levels.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.

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