cooper rec pool

The Cooper Community Center pool is open to the public and offers at least one session of swim lessons during the summer.

Swimming lessons in Alexander City are in their third and last session for the summer and Alex City Parks and Recreation pool manager Meg Blake said numbers were higher than she was expecting for the season, all things considered.

“Honestly, I thought numbers were going to be down but really, a lot of people turned out,” Blake said. “The city pool had three sessions serving more than 250 kids, which is what we typically pull. Cooper Rec just had one session this year because it doesn’t fill up as quickly and registered about eight.”

Yes I Can mentoring instructor Teresa Moten chaperons many of her students at Cooper Community Center swim lessons and works to get sponsorships to cover the registration costs of all.

“Ms. Teresa is good about going out and getting sponsorships for everyone in that group,” Blake said. “She had one for each kid this year. She takes the initiative and does that on her own.”

Moten said Tallapoosa County commissioner Steve Robinson, Alex City councilmember Bobby Tapley and former mayor Charles Shaw all contributed to this year’s registration fees.

“Whatever I do in the community, I don’t charge a dime,” Moten said. 

Moten said she started swimming at Cooper Community Center when she was 8 years old and eventually worked her way up to a lifeguard. She is now taking lessons alongside the children to recertify for the lifeguard course.

“Ms. Teresa always says if she can do it at her age then everyone can,” Blake said. “We offer classes all the way down to 6 months old and your age doesn’t base what level you are in for lessons.”

Blake said the swim instructors observe participants the first day and evaluate what level they should be placed. They advance classes as needed.

Classes are two weeks long, eight sessions each. At the city pool, they are typically offered during the morning and afternoon.

“The third session only has morning classes because as we get into July, it rains a lot in the afternoons and it usually gets canceled anyway,” Blake said.

Every single lifeguard assigned to either of the two pools undergoes Red Cross certified water safety instructor classes, qualifying him or her to teach pre-aquatics and Levels 1 through 6.

“Some of the kids have moved up to another level and kids are jumping off the diving board,” Moten said. “We are glad to be able to have this in our community.”

Moten typically brings her students baked goods and also helps out picking up their school summer feeding program meals to deliver throughout the neighborhood.

“In the Yes I Can program, we always try to talk about different things like respect and try to do something so the kids can learn,” Moten said.

Amy Passaretti is a staff writer with the Alexander City Outlook.