Pocahontas Swim Club in Indian Village opens at noon Saturday for its 59th season with a new manager and a whole new set of operating rules.

Those rules are in keeping with Stage 3 of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s strategy for reopening Indiana as the fight against the COVID-19 virus continues.

Fort Wayne city pools and Jury Pool in New Haven have announced that those pools will not open this season as the pandemic continues. Pocahontas plans to open, but will not accept guests in 2020.

Kasey Sneed may be starting her first year as pool manager, but she’s no stranger to POCO, as the pool is lovingly referred to by its members and staff. Her first introduction to the pool was in 2012 when she became a member of the swimming and diving team. She doesn’t recall winning any city championships, but says “we tried our hardest.” Sneed was a swimmer and diver on the South Side High School team for four years and was the POCO diving coach in 2018.

It is Sneed’s job to see that everyone follows the new rules to the letter.

“Our staff of 13 will not only be life guards and concessionaires, but will also be cleaning personnel and maids. Every two hours we will be sanitizing the pool ladders, guard chairs, picnic tables and chairs, sink faucets and the sign-in pen,” she said.

The new regulations will find pool members standing on socially distanced Xs on the sidewalk while they wait to sign in and enter. They’ll be asked to use the spray hand sanitizer just outside the door before going in. Inside they’ll find the lounge chairs and tables spaced and find that the drinking fountain is not turned on. Guards on the deck will be wearing masks, but those in the chairs will not. The staff in the concession stand will be masked and gloved in order to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Lines will be socially spaced at the diving boards and the concession stand.

Sneed said the pool board of directors emailed the new rules to the membership. POCO had in-service session to get the staff up to speed on what will be expected of them this year. “No guests will be allowed this season. This is a tough one, especially for grandparents who are hosting visiting grandchildren,” Sneed said.

“We realize that operating with the new procedures will make things more difficult, but we’re ready and prepared to take on whatever comes along,” Sneed said. “Members are ready to get out, but some will be a little anxious about mingling. We feel that they will all be respectful of each other’s space.”

A Fort Wayne native, Sneed graduated from South Side High School and will be going into her sophomore year at Goshen College where she is studying sign language in preparation to teach American Sign Language. She hopes to be back at the pool again in 2021.

“We’re all excited to be back at POCO and are looking forward to hot days and chilling at the pool side,” she said.

The pool will be open seven days a week from noon-8 p.m. through Labor Day weekend.

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