Austin’s summer swimming season is underway, despite a recent drowning.
The first drowning at Barton Springs pool in 23 years happened last Wednesday, when lifeguards failed to resuscitate a 21-year-old at the popular swimming pool. Thirteen lifeguards were on duty when Andrew Guerra, who had been racing with friends, went under.
The city is still searching for more lifeguards to oversee Austin pools. As recently as a few weeks ago, the city was about a dozen positions “behind where we normally are this time of year,” according to Michael Strycharske with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The department is hoping that more university students who have just finished the school year will reapply for the positions.
“We’d like to have more lifeguards on hand so we can rotate more in and out so they don’t have to be overburdened,” Strycharske says.
The tragedy at Barton Springs came just before the kickoff of swimming season. According to the city’s pools schedule, 18 city pools are schedule to open today. Strycharske says that all pools opening today are fully staffed.
Click here for a schedule of Austin pool hours and openings.
There are no immediate plans to change the number of lifeguards or the training required for lifeguards at Barton Springs following the drowning, according to Strycharske.
TPWD Aquatics Director Jodi Jay told KXAN that lifeguards go through special training to learn how to navigate the unique nature of Barton Springs – a three-acre pool fed by an underwater spring with limited visibility toward the bottom of the pool.