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McChord's outdoor pool is open to all military ID cardholders

The only outdoor pool at Joint Base Lewis-McChord


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The elevated temperatures these last weeks has had everyone seeking out air conditioning, lingering in shade or running through the sprinklers but guess what? There's another way to enjoy the sunrays and cool down simultaneously ... the McChord outdoor pool, which is open to all military ID cardholders on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"It's free, it's there and it's the only outdoor pool on JBLM," said Capt. Amanda Turcotte, Sustainment Flight commander, 627th Force Support Squadron, who serves as the MWR liaison for McChord Field. "Plus it doesn't have the restrictions that many of the other indoor MWR pools do have."

The pool features one 25-yard lap lane, which is open everyday from noon to 7 p.m. from now until Sept. 1, when the pool closes for the summer. Those hours also apply to recreational swim as well as the one-meter and three-meter diving boards. Various fitness training equipment is available for use, such as kickboards, pull buoys, paddles, fins and lifejackets. Lifeguards are always on duty during open pool hours and swim diapers are mandatory for infants and children who are not potty-trained.

It is also important to note that the children's wading pool, which is intended for children age 6 or younger, is currently closed until further notice due to a shortage of lifeguards on staff.

"The pool is first come, first serve and families can camp out all day and get a lot of sun if they want to," she said.

However, there are other rules in place. For instance, smoking and alcohol use is prohibited in the pool area/locker rooms and anyone inebriated will be asked to leave.

Additionally, all guests must shower prior to entering the pool; running, wrestling or roughhousing is not allowed; glass and glass containers are prohibited and likewise drinking and eating are not permitted within 10 feet of the pool edge. That being said, food can be brought into the pool deck area but must be contained.

With regard to the deep end and the diving boards, there will be alternating 30-minute intervals for diving and swimming. No inward or reverse dives are allowed, nor are handstands or just sitting on the diving board. Following a dive, a swimmer must swim to the ladder.

Children age 15 and younger must take the Swim Test to go in the deep end of the pool; the test will be administered by a lifeguard and will require that children tread water for 30 seconds then swim 100-feet crawl stroke without stopping or touching the sides/bottom with arms clearly out during recovery positions. If completed successfully, individuals will leave their name, phone number, and sponsor to be kept at the pool for reference in an emergency. Youth unable to pass swim test are considered non-swimmers. Furthermore, children under the age of nine must have a guardian in the pool area at all times, even if they are in the shallow end.

So before the cloud cover returns and the 90s are a forgotten notch on the thermometer, why not try to snag a chair at the outdoor pool?

"There is a lot of easy parking and we ask that pool guests either park in the Main and Annex Fitness Center parking lots or in the bowling center lot across the street," Turcotte said.

The McChord outdoor pool is on Fifth Street at McChord Field, in-between the Main McChord Fitness Facility and the McChord Annex Fitness Facility. The pool entrance is between the two buildings. For more information, call 253.982.2807.

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