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Local swim facility focuses on family exposure to sport


Celes King Swimming Pool

Swimming is one of the healthiest, most invigorating physical activities available. Swimming is a gateway to aquatic adventures and careers and supplies people with the survival skills necessary in order to thrive and explore aquatic journeys worldwide. Residents can find an oasis of opportunity awaiting at Celes King III Swimming Pool at the Rancho Cienega Recreation Center, located at 5001 Obama Blvd., in South Los Angeles.

Operators of the facility have a focus on educating youth and adults alike at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. The complex is also home to a baseball diamond, indoor basketball courts, a children’s play area, a football field, handball courts, a soccer field, tennis courts, a computer lab, a track field, a kitchen, a skate plaza, a stage, synthetic field.

Although many descendants of slavery and Black Americans have trauma, trepidation, and reluctance related to swimming, Celes King III Pool is determined to change the swimming experience for all. “If I’m thinking of the demographics of this community, I would hope to see a larger percentage of young black participants when it comes to our lessons and teams. We’re actually working on some programs to bridge those gaps,” says Nikko Hammonds, Pool Manager and Swim Instructor. Lack of access to pools and lack of exposure to large bodies of water can create hesitation.

John Lopez, Aquatic Facility Manager, goes on to mention that a lot of elders within the Black community are unwilling to allow their grandchildren to attend swim lessons or the public pool due to safety concerns. However, all swim instructors are trained lifeguards and expert swimmers. Staff members at the Celes King III Pool are committed to diversity and aquatic education. It is important to exercise swim safety while at pools, beaches, and lakes. Some swimming safety tips include always swimming with a friend, not eating in the water, and making sure that there is always a lifeguard on duty. Many parents accompanying their children to swim lessons can also partake in adult swim classes available for swimmers and non-swimmers.

John Lopez, says, “In terms of demographics usually our primary workload is from the youth and we’re just trying to get a lot of youth involved in our program. But the numbers in terms of the Black community are very limited, which we’re really looking at trying to increase."

Classes available include Preschool Aquatics, Levels (1-3), where parents and children are introduced to a water environment in a safe space and children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult on a 1 to 1 ratio. Next is Water Confidence, (Level 1), which consists of an introduction to water safety and acclimation, Beginner (Level 2) where learners can continue to learn basic skills, Advanced Beginner, (Level 3), Intermediate (Level 4) and Swimmer (Level 5).  Additionally, Celes King III Pool offers private one-on-one lessons and semi-private lessons for 2 people aged 3 and over each lasting for 25 minutes. Several adaptive and group lessons, swim team, water polo, diving, and artistic swimming options are available, in addition to aquacise. Aquacise offers high to low-intensity workouts that promote cardiovascular fitness, conditioning, increased flexibility, range of motion, and lastly, aquatic mobility which is a low-impact exciting water mobility exercise class where no swimming skills are needed.

Although all summer classes are coming to an end, fall classes are beginning, please be advised a swim assessment is required to sign up for any and all swimming lessons. For more information and to register for group lessons please visit Fees must be paid at the time of registration, no refunds are available unless the session is canceled and all lessons are 25 minutes in length. Group registration can only be done online.

Enjoy the water and start swimming soon with Celes King III Pool.