Yost Pool gearing up for summer swim season

Yost Pool swimmers can enjoy that sunset glow. (Photos courtesy Cascade Swim Club)

Thanks to a partnership between Cascade Swim Club and the City of Edmonds, the only thing that closed at Yost Pool this winter was a large tree that fell in the parking lot.

“The only weather we close for is thunderstorms and lightning,” said Ben Weed, who the manages Yost Pool for Cascade Swim Club during the summer, via email. “Rain, snow, cold we stay open.”

As the sun begins to creep out of its hibernation, Yost pool is wrapping up its second “off-season” after opening throughout the year in 2022, and is now gearing up for the summer. Last year was the pool’s first winter operating year-round through an agreement between Edmonds and Cascade, which notified the city of its interest in running the pool in fall 2021.

Cascade Swim Club is a nonprofit swim organization that runs practices for its swim teams at pools across the Seattle area. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the team was using seven different pools.

“Now, we’re down to five,” said Pete Colella, Yost’s year-round manager and coach at Cascade. He said as pools opened post-pandemic, Cascade was unable to get practice time back. “Shoreline pool closed down completely. Evans down at Greenlake has opened back up but they haven’t given us time back. And we’ve lost time at some of our other pools,” he said. “We had Aqua Club (in Kenmore) but they gave our time way to another team. And so we were desperate for a pool to put people at, and Yost kind of became available at the right time for us.” Yost is the only pool Cascade Swim Club operates.

The team did a month-long trial run in fall 2021 and then continued through the rest of the year. Overall, Colella said, “things have been going great.”

Open swim at Yost Pool.

Aside from the 260 Cascade swimmers who use the pool for practice throughout the week, the pool has seen a consistent lap swim and water fitness crowds over the last two winters. “Lots of regular swimmers as well as people just coming to check us out,” Weed, who is also a coach at Cascade, said. “Even in the winter months, there were times when we had multiple people per lane.”

Heading into the summer season, the pool will host programming that’s not available in the winter, including more frequent open swims, swim lessons and the Yost Penguins, the pool’s summer recreational swim team.

“Penguins is kind of an introductory swim team,” Colella said. “It’s really all about fun. They don’t score the meets. It’s really just learning and getting some experience with swimming.”

Registration opened for the Penguins on May 1, a month earlier than last year, according to Weed. He expects around 120 swimmers to register for this summer, thanks to the extra registration time. The summer league will begin June 9, which will kick off the official summer season.

This summer, Cascade is bringing back swim lessons (two-week sessions, with times throughout the day), and weekday open swims (1:15-3:15 p.m.). Weekend open swims are changing slightly. Saturday open swims will only run from 12:15 until 4:30 p.m., with a break at 2:15 p.m., while Sunday open swims will run from 12:15 until 6:45 p.m. with breaks at 2:15 and 4:30 p.m.

To staff lessons and open swims, Cascade will be hiring dozens of employees for the summer. “Last year (our first year) we had a staff of about 55,” Weed said. “During the off-season that shrunk to about 15, and I expect to ramp back up to 55-plus.”

Lifeguard training.

Some of these staff will be lifeguards, who are in high demand due to a national lifeguard shortage which has contributed to the closure of pools and reduction of summer programming all over the country. Yost, meanwhile, hosts lifeguard training and certification courses all year for those working at Yost and other pools. (Those interested in life guard training can find more information here.)

As for the agreement between Cascade and the City of Edmonds, the Cascade pays the city a monthly fee to cover day-to-day programming. “We do all the programming and all of the daily stuff. They manage the chemicals and the mechanical room. We don’t even have a key to that room,” Colella said.

Cascade hopes to continue what is now an annual contract into the future, Colella said. “Hopefully we’ll be doing a longer-term contract soon,” Colella said.

— By Mardy Harding


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