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Turner Falls preparing lifeguards for summer swimming season

Swimmers gather at the Blue Hole Pool at Turner Falls for the first week of the 2022 swimming...
Swimmers gather at the Blue Hole Pool at Turner Falls for the first week of the 2022 swimming season.(Kemper Ball)
Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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DAVIS, Okla. (KXII) - After a safe summer of swimming in 2021 the staff at Turner Falls is hoping to continue that success this summer.

Turner Falls hasn’t always been the safest place to swim with several drowning occurring there over the past few years.

The Blue hole is one of the parks two swimming areas and while it can be a fun environment for summer swimmers it can be a challenging place for a dip.

“We do have a current, its a constant running stream, its a spring fed stream,” said the parks sales and service manager Cathi Neal. “But the current is pretty good. Also on any of the falls we have there’s always this undertow that happens and people will get caught up in that.”

Since 2016 11 people have drowned at Turner falls including four in 2019 when the city opted not to hire lifeguards.

“Most people aren’t paying attention and they’re loved ones been underneath the water for a little bit before they realize they’re not coming up,” said Neal.

In 2020 the city brought the guards back and saw one drowning.

The following year there were no drownings.

Now they’re pushing to keep that trend going through updated training methods.

“We actually do our training here not just in a swimming pool because a swimming pool is a whole lot different then our pools that we have here,” said Neal. “So they get those swift water rescue type of scenarios and they practice that until everybody’s comfortable being able to go in and get somebody.”

Two lifeguards will be on duty at all swimming areas during swimming hours but Neal says they still need help from swimmers to keep everyone safe.

“Make sure you keep an eye on your kids, make sure and keep an eye on your people,” said Neal. “If you don’t know how to swim and you’re getting into an 18 foot pool with swift running water then please be careful, know your limits.”

The park opens at 7 a.m. and closes at sunset for all daytime users.

With no lifeguards on duty until Memorial Day weekend its swim at your own risk until then.

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