Swimming lessons, fitness classes underway at Channing Beach

Channing Beach will be open for young swimmers and fitness fans this summer. Swimming lessons will take place throughout July and AquaFit classes will take place through July and August at the Schist Lake-based beach.

Plans to use Channing Beach as a site for swimming-based classes began last winter after the Flin Flon Aqua Centre was shut down without warning. Those plans were altered once COVID-19 broke out, sending organizers scrambling to make the site safe for use.

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“The goal is to try and offer as much as we possibly offer the kids this year, with everything going on. We had initially talked about it with the closure of the Aqua Centre first and how, hopefully, we could pull this off,” said City of Flin Flon recreation manager Caitlin Bailey.

“I think it’s even more important now with kids out of school and they haven’t really had anything external outside of their homes. It was important that whatever we could do, we were going to do.”

As recently as mid-June, lessons at Channing Beach were in doubt due to the Manitoba Lifesaving Society unable to hold lifeguarding courses and no Flin Flon-based lifeguarding having certification for open water.

That changed earlier this month, when the Lifesaving Society began teaching lifesaving programs once again and qualifications for some communities were changed.

“The governing bodies actually changed their regulations and I think it was probably to make everybody’s lives easier with COVID-19,” Bailey said.

It will be the first time in decades where outdoor swimming lessons will be the primary method of teaching swimming in Flin Flon.

“They were always at the Aqua Centre,” Bailey said.

While lessons and classes will be held at Channing Beach, some things will need changes at the site - namely, the facilities. Rules on using public or portable toilets are vague, leaving the City unsure how to handle sanitation at the site.

“It’s kind of difficult to figure out exactly what they want you to do,” Bailey said.

Swimming lessons will be held in two blocks, from July 6-17 and from July 20-31. In the first block, Level 4 classes will take place from 9:15 a.m.-9:45 a.m., with Level 2 from 9:50 a.m.-10:20 a.m. and Level 1 from 10:25 a.m.-10:55 a.m. Salamander classes will take place from 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m., with Starfish and Duck classes at 11:35 a.m.-12:05 a.m. At the same time, Level 3 classes will be taught from 9 a.m.-9:30 a.m., Crocodile and Whale classes will go from 9:35 a.m.-10:05 a.m., Sunfish from 10:10 a.m.-10:40 a.m., Sea Otter from 10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m. and Sea Turtle and Sea Otter from 11:20 a.m.-11:50 a.m.

All swimmers in preschool and Levels 1-4 will be required to bring their own lifejacket and no more than two observers per swimmer will be allowed on the beach. Flutter boards will be provided and sanitized after each lesson. Toys for preschool lessons will no longer be provided due to a possible COVID-19 risk.

Aqua Fit will take place Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from July 8-August 28 from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. Each session will cost a $5 drop-in fee or a $30 punch pass for 10 classes, buyable from City Hall.

All schedules are subject to change. Registration can be done by emailing ffaquacentre@gmail.com.

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