GUSTINE - The swim season is coming to a close in Gustine, a sure sign that the summer is drawing to a close and the start of a new school year is right around the corner.

Melanie Correa, deputy city clerk/human resources manager, said the last open swim of the season will be Friday, Aug. 9 - although there is a possibility that the twice-a-week evening swims might continue. That will be dependent on lifeguard availability, Correa told Mattos Newspapers.

A final session of water aerobics is also in store before the pool completely shuts down for the off-season.

Correa said pool attendance was steady through the summer, ranging between 50 and 75 patrons on a typical open swim afternoon.

The twice-weekly evening swims continued to be popular and drew slightly larger turnouts than the afternoon sessions, she added.

“Night swims are good because the whole family comes out,” Correa explained.

“We were very happy with that,” Correa said of the attendance. “With that, of course, concession sales remained pretty steady which is also nice.”

The city also experimented with Saturday open swims, but discontinued those sessions due to light attendance.

Water aerobics and both sessions of swim lessons were at maximum capacity this summer, Correa added.

She said she hoped to add a third round of swim lessons but was unable to do so because of staffing restrictions.

Hiring lifeguards was particularly challenging this year because local training for certification was no longer available, and a more rigorous, lengthy training was implemented for Red Cross certification, Correa noted.

“We just didn’t have the hours to keep the kids within their mandated part-time hours (and offer a third round of swim lessons),” she explained.

Fewer lost days of pool operation were experienced this summer than in recent years, Correa added.

Only one day was lost to mechanical failure - and that was due to a pipe break elsewhere in Henry Miller Park which impacted the pool system.

Typically, Correa said, the pool has been shut down four or five days in recent summers.

Having fewer closures was an integral part of the strong swim season, she noted.

Correa credited the smoother operation to the City Council’s willingness to invest in an automated chlorine system which streamlined pool maintenance.

“Prior to that, the pool manager had to administer the chemicals,” she said. “With the purchase of the automated pumps, that was eliminated.”