Taking the brrr out of winter swimming
As the cooler months start biting, Whangamatā locals are being kept that little bit warmer while swimming in the outdoor pool, thanks to support of Powerco.
The local electricity lines company has contributed $16,500 towards the Whangamatā Community Swimming Pool’s new transformer to power new heat pumps, providing year-round use of the community-owned pool.
The heat pumps were turned on for the first time during the latest school holidays, with Whangamatā Community Swimming Pool management committee chairperson Rob Boston reporting that regular swimmers were “very happy” with the new water temperature.
“On our first day with the heat pumps operating, we had double the number of people using the pool,” Rob says.
The transformer contribution is one of several ways Powerco is supporting the facility. As well as backing a 12-month water safety programme in partnership with local schools and the Whangamatā Community Swimming Pool, Powerco’s support is also helping with the recruitment and training of volunteer and paid community pool lifeguards to help the community stay safe in the water.
Rob Boston says Powerco’s support will have a significant impact on the annual management capability of the popular pool.
“Already Powerco’s sponsorship has covered the cost of training three volunteer pool lifeguards, who are providing an extra level of water safety.
“In addition, the Powerco funding of a water safety programme will ensure we are able to build on existing programmes which include Learn to Swim, Swim Club and the development of a programme to encourage young people to gain confidence swimming in the ocean,” Rob Boston says.
The water safety course idea has grown from when Rob’s own daughter took swimming lessons. Her instructor at the time said that to be safe in the sea, people needed to be able to swim competently for 400 metres.
“Our thoughts are to encourage students with little or no swimming skills or ability, to progress from 0 to 400 metres by offering a non-threatening, non-competitive environment. The goal is not to become a club swimmer, but simply become competent and confident in the water and complete a 400-metre swim in the ocean under the supervision of the local surf club,” says Rob.
"Tairua School and Tairua Surf Life Saving Club joined forces to run a successful water safety programme, something we are keen to mirror here in Whangamatā" .
Powerco Customer and Communications Strategy Manager Oliver Vincent says the majority of Powerco’s energy network is bordered by sea and keeping communities safe is important to the company.
“Sadly, during the past year, a significant number of people have drowned while enjoying our big blue backyard. We were looking for an initiative in one of our communities that may help address this and the Whangamatā programme was a good fit,” he says.
Below: Swimming at the outdoor Whangamata Community Swimming Pool has got warmer thanks to support from Powerco, which is also backing other pool initiatives.