Now we are reaching the peak of our summer season an we are expecting some warmer weather and therefore a higher demand for the pool. We understand that it is not easy standing in a queue on a hot day, hearing people having fun in the pool. Here we will explain how the duty manager, lifeguards, trustees and volunteers manage the situation.
Our pool capacity, like any other supervised pool, is determined by two things: 1) the ratio of lifeguards to swimmers and 2), the maximum number of people we can have in the two pools. Common practice for the lifeguard: swimmer ratio is 1:30 and this is what we follow, with multiple lifeguards on duty, depending on the swimmers in the pool. We have a maximum pool capacity that the pool managers work to maintain. But safety is our NO 1 priority and there are other factors that may also play a role in dictating our pool capacity e.g. keeping our staff and swimmers safe, water clarity (affected by many things, including sun cream) and pool visibility (glare).
To manage the situation safely, we have extra lifeguards on duty so that everyone gets a break after time on the pool - particularly important on a hot day. When the pools are at maximum capacity, having extra lifeguards does not increase our pool capacity.
Safety is always our number one priority. To operate the site safely, it is the Duty Manager's job to determine how many people we can let onto the site once we are full. Key here is how many people are in the water, which we review every 10 minutes. Many of the people leaving might have been out of the pool for a while and the pools might still be at full capacity. It is for this reason that we cannot operate a 'one out/one in' policy. We appreciate it can be frustrating to see people leaving with the queue not moving, but this is why.
The volunteers, under the direction of the duty manager, help manage how many people are on site. They also respond to customer queries, answer the phone (many calls on a hot day), deal with lost property, explain site rules, check the changing rooms and look after people in the queue. The latter involves keeping people informed, to the best of their ability (as we don't have an answer to how long people have to queue), providing chairs to those who need them, and handing out cold drinks. On hot days, we also have to remind each other to keep hydrated in order to be at our best.
In the background to all this is a group of trustees, with experience in running the pool. They, like the volunteers you see on the gate and in the tuck shop, are volunteers themselves (they work many hours both behind the scenes and at the pool when we are open). In response to customer feedback over the years, and recently post-Covid, the decision was taken to offer a combination of bookable and non-bookable sessions. This means that there is something for those who like the certainty of a space and something for those who decide on the day to come to the pool.
We are open for 131 days this year, more than in previous years, as we wanted to offer more to our community of swimmers. But like any open air pool on a hot day, an airport in summer, Wimbledon or gigs, there will be queues. In these circumstances, please keep safe - bring sun hats, sun cream and water.
We hope this helps you understand our situation. Please remember that the people managing this are trying to do their best for everyone. As mentioned above, safety is paramount and due to the ever changing environment of the pool we aren’t always able to keep the queue flowing. Feedback is welcome and we are always discussing how best to run the pool to suit the needs of our community.
Thank you & happy swimming.