It’s open!

YMCA pool dedicated this week

by Dennis Fujimoto – The Garden Island

Donna Schulze said the YMCA waited 92 years for what happened Monday afternoon.

Schulze, a longtime supporter of swimming, athletics and the YMCA, said in her blessing of the YMCA Ohana Center and Pool that a pool has been on the wish list of the YMCA since it started up on Kaua‘i in 1916.

“That’s almost a hundred years we’ve waited,” she said.

Excited Swim Kaua‘i Aquatics swimmers literally tugged at the bit for an opportunity to try out Kaua‘i’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool as cars from the afternoon rush hour streamed by the facility.

The floodgate of youngsters broke open when Cheyanne Tannery, the daughter of YMCA director Tom Tannery, initiated the pool with the first slide down the towering yellow structure.

“It’s really fast,” Cheyanne said. “I tried it before and all I can say is that it’s fast, but it’s fun.”

Schulze said she will be starting her schedule of teaching classes on Monday.

“My first class has 10 mothers and 10 children,” Schulze said. “The learning pool has a place where mothers can sit and help their children learn to swim.”

That class will be followed by two other children’s swimming classes, each with 10 swimmers, Schulze said.

She said additional classes will be scheduled as the need arises, but people need to communicate what their interests are so the YMCA can see if they can form classes for people’s needs.

The swimming pool has been the most obvious feature Kaua‘i residents and visitors have been watching as it developed from a flat piece of land into the swimming and diving facility that was dedicated Monday.

“There are still things that need to be done, but at least it’s open,” Schulze said. “Diving boards still need to be installed, and the special cart for wheelchair-bound people is still in its shipping crate, but the pool is open.”

Stephanie Rogers, the YMCA aquatics director as well as president of SKA, said the health department inspectors are scheduled to come in Tuesday morning for a final inspection.

“They were here throughout the week, but couldn’t schedule a visit before the pool was dedicated,” Rogers said. “There were some issues that needed to be addressed, but those have been taken care of.”

SKA head coach Billy Brown who also doubles as a swim coach and instructor for the YMCA of Kaua‘i was obviously happy with the proceedings.

“I went to the Mainland and when I came back, there was water and everything changed,” Brown said.

He pointed out one of the features of the pool which has its waterline lined up with the deck so after a workout, he simply rolls onto the deck without having to haul out.

Fred Atkins of Kilohana was one of the guests and commented that it’s a good place to get in condition for the Moloka‘i (canoe) race.

Tom Tannery said the Monday afternoon blessing was supposed to be a small affair.

“We thought we’d just get some people together so we could bless and dedicate the facility. The big event comes on Aug. 2 when SKA hosts the first meet in the pool,” Tom said. “Then we’ll have all the dignitaries and there should be a lot of off-island teams here as well.”

The pool hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kathy Mata, the office manager for the YMCA said people plannng on using the pool should note that the pool will be closed from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily so maintenance work can be done.

The weight room and locker room hours are also 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Saturday hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday hours run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Holiday hours for both the pool and the weight room facility will be posted when appropriate.

With the opening of the facility, memberships in the YMCA are now being taken with plans available for families, adult singles, seniors, the teen and swim club as well as a special Kaua‘i ‘Ohana YMCA Member guest pass.

“We’ve already sold more than 150 new memberships,” Schulze said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a lot more new members now that the pool is open.”

Harry Duronslet of HD Construction was the contractor for the project.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.

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