The YMCA offers nine lifeguard courses each year beginning in January and ending in May. The price per class is $200 and can be taught in person or online.
The classes have prerequisites. Participants have to complete a 300-yard swim using both freestyle and breaststroke, tread water for two minutes and swim to the bottom of the pool to pick up a 10-pound brick.
It takes nearly 25 hours of training to acquire certification. CPR and First Aid skills are also taught.
"It is important for students to sign up for lifeguard courses early," Dydland said. "Many wait until May and spots fill up fast. If people get their certification early on, we won't run into situations we have had in the past where the city is forced to leave a pool closed because of a shortage of guards."
Dydland said a certification lasts two years and lifeguards are required to go through more training to maintain their certification.
Because of recent changes in pool regulation and for insurance purposes, diving boards at Cato and the other city pools have been stripped.
With the opening of Cato, 10 lifeguards were added to the city's staff.
More guards are needed to open Vandalia, a small neighborhood pool on Clifton Road on a hill on the south side of the Kanawha River near the city's border with South Charleston.
The city typically hires about 40 lifeguards each summer.
When Jones took office, he directed that admission to the city pools be free, saying children in disadvantaged communities should not be denied the opportunity to swim. Jones has directed that again this year.
The Cato pool is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Contact writer John C. Gibb at john.g...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4872.