Mingus Pool Free Swims

Paige Kirchner, left, 15, helps Teagan Harbolt, 8, float as her twin sister Melina does the same with Sarah Perry, 15, during a free swim lesson Wednesday at Mingus Pool in Coos Bay.

COOS BAY — For the second year in a row the Mingus Park Pool will be opening up free swim nights each Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. for local kids to enjoy.

Though the pool has held free swims for several years this is the second year that it will be opening up on both Monday and Wednesday.

The switch to two nights a week stemmed from a large number of sponsors who donated enough funds to open up the pool for a second night.

“It’s gotten bigger since we originally started,” Mingus Park Pool director Kathe McNutt said. "We started with Mondays the first two years, and then last year we added Wednesdays because we had so many sponsors.”

According to pool staff it costs around $175 a night to offer free swimming. The pool received enough funding through its sponsors that it will open for Monday and Wednesday free swims through mid-August.

For the first half hour of each free swim night pool staff provides free swimming lessons for kids who don’t already know how.

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“My lifeguards offer a free lesson from 7 to 7:30 p.m. I like the feel of my young people volunteering and giving back to the community. That makes me feel good,” McNutt said.

Sponsors include both local businesses and individual contributions that include Advanced Health. Bruce and Jeanne Moore, Bay Clinic, Bay Area Hospital, Dr. Tom Holt, Sause Bros., Donna Rabin, James Fereday and Mararet Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. Tim Wall, Mr. and Mrs. M. Patnode, Kathleen Erickson, The Coach House, Jon Littlefield, and Caddy McKeown.

This year Advanced Heath sponsored a number of nights this summer, with the stipulation that a lane in the pool be left open for kids to swim laps if they so choose.

McNutt said that she often sees kids taking advantage of the free classes that don’t come to the paid classes. 

“We get people that I don’t see here regularly, or at our lessons we provide. People who can’t normally afford to come get an opportunity to enjoy the pool. You see a lot of grandparents with their grandkids out. I encourage everyone to come down, it’s a great program,” McNutt said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.