At Catalina Swim Club, operators take pride in developing a top-notch, homegrown lifeguard staff. All guards are members and have grown up learning from older lifeguards. There are 11 full-time guards, and many work for six or more seasons.

Lifeguards are stationed around three pools that provide a range of depths to accommodate all members. The main pool is a heated, 165,00-gallon, 25-yard, six-lane competition pool with an attached diving well.

For younger members, there’s a heated junior pool, 18- to 24 inches deep, and a baby pool with a maximum depth of 12 inches. The main and junior pools are heated, and all three pools have PVC liners.

Club operators strive to maintain a safe, clean environment. To ensure the highest water and food quality, they communicate regularly with the local health department. Also, lifeguards are trained through the American Red Cross and attend regular in-service training and lifeguard staff meetings.

To date, the Catalina Swim Club has more than 550 member families. Despite the recession and other challenges facing many swim clubs, daily attendance at the pool has grown steadily over the past 10 years.

The number of participants in the swim team, swim lessons and water aerobics also has increased. To maintain visibility, the club is active in the community, supporting local public television, schools and several charitable organizations.

Additionally, members receive a set of guest passes — which often leads to new members — but generally, there’s still a need to attract new members each year.

A club newsletter, brochure and Website (under development) provide more information, and targeted advertising and special events also help generate memberships.

Best Practices

When it comes to lifeguards, managers know that fatigue and boredom are the biggest obstacles to vigilance. So they developed a rotation system in which no lifeguard sits in one spot longer than 16 minutes.

Another forward-thinking idea is the Gator Den program. It provides members with the opportunity to open debit accounts, eliminating the need to carry cash.


“Operators’ ability to maintain a strong facility and commitment to safety during tough economic times is impressive.”


  • A heated, 165,000-gallon, 25- yard, six-lane competition pool with a diving well and water slide
  • A heated junior pool, 18- to 24 inches deep, 20 feet wide and 30 feet long
  • A 400-square-foot baby pool, with a maximum depth of 12 inches, 20-by-20-feet
  • A full-size sand volleyball court
  • A paved basketball court with one goal
  • A fenced-in dry playground
  • Two regulation tennis courts
  • Concessions and a picnic area