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    Judge’s Comment: Scottsdale makes more of an impact with its three pools than some communities make with 10!

The city of Scottsdale Parks and Recreation operates just three year-round outdoor pools along with a lesson-only pool, open in the summer. But the depth of aquatic offerings is one of a kind.

Scottsdale’s Eldorado pool, located in south Scottsdale, offers specialty water aerobics classes such as Tone and Tai Chi, Ache Away, Aquatics Arthritis, and Deep and Shallow Water Aerobics.

Cactus pool hosts programs ranging from swim lessons to dive teams and a Triathlon Training class for athletes. The city’s large competitive year-round swim team, and the Sun Devil Masters swimming club, also practice there.

In north Scottsdale, McDowell Mountain Ranch Park Aquatic and Fitness Center, provides a waterpark experience. Opened in 2007, the conservation-minded facility is designed to maximize natural daylighting throughout the facility and used approximately 95 percent recycled steel.

Chaparral pool, one of the only municipal free-form pools in the state, resembles a lake and has a beach-like zero-depth entry and several interactive water-play features. The main pool consists of a shallow wading area, 10 lap lanes, and a diving well with a 1-meter board.

Community water safety education is a key goal. Scottsdale pools host April Pools Day, the kickoff event of the water safety season. Lifeguards perform a mock rescue in conjunction with the fire department to show the importance of being safe in and around the water. Additionally, Water Safety Day is held in August, in recognition of Drowning Impact Awareness Month. Critical incident training occurs in May. It consists of simulated emergency scenarios using citizen volunteers in one of the pools.

That’s just one of many continuing education requirements. The Guard Recognition and Incentive Program provides formalized safety audits. Under GRIP, guards are evaluated at least once a year on a spot-check basis. Evaluation consists of a simulated emergency in which guards must spot a “victim,” and then initiate the emergency action plan.

Lifeguards are rated on guarding, professionalism, one water rescue skill and one CPR scenario. Scoring is standardized and guards are awarded incentives based on their cumulative score on a 100-point scale. Any lifeguards who score less than 85 percent on the evaluation are relieved of their duties for the remainder of that shift and must receive extra training in the deficient areas before they are permitted to return to work. n