By MATTHEW MCKEW
Kids are making a splash in Queenstown with tens of thousands of visits to Whakatipu swimming pools this summer and fully-booked lessons.
Council sports tsar Simon Battrick says the wet summer ‘‘certainly brought in the crowds’’ and he’s ‘‘stoked’’ to see 36,390 people make the most of Alpine Aqualand over the school holidays.
The Frankton-based swimming pool was closed for renovations last year, so there’s no direct comparison available with the 2019-20 break.
It reopened last February after multimillion dollar upgrades to the floors, pools, hydroslide tower, ceilings and ventilation system.
But numbers only took a slight dip at Arrowtown Memorial Pool — which was open and unrivalled last year — falling from 1365 to 1194 visits between December 20 and January 31.
The surge in demand at Alpine Aqualand’s been visible for some months — in November, City Hall urged would-be swim instructors to come forward to tackle waiting lists for lessons.
Battrick says the recruitment drive unearthed eight new swim instructors, split evenly between Queenstown and Wanaka.
They’re being trained at the moment and will be added to the roster when they’ve got
the right skills, he says.
‘‘In addition, we took on and trained 10 new poolside lifeguards for the summer across our three aquatic facilities.’’
Term one learn-to-swim classes are continuing to prove popular, Battrick says, with most at or near capacity, and others having waiting lists.
‘‘It’s great to see so many local youngsters learning the essential life skills of swimming and water safety.’’