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Volume 16, Issue 8
August 2018


58-year-old Sunset Swim Center changing to meet its patrons’ needs
by Bob Wayt, recently retired Communications Director at THPRD

One of the oldest facilities in the district, Sunset Swim Center opened to the public in 1960. It sports the only outdoor wading pool in the district and is also the only year-round THPRD center north of Highway 26, which apparently suits neighborhood patrons just fine because word is they’d rather not have to cross the highway to get their exercise.

Sunset Swim Center exterior

The swim center has been a model of consistency for nearly six decades, delivering high-quality instruction and programs to an evolving patron base. And it has done so without much fanfare.

But there are ripples of change in the water today—change that Supervisor Lori Leach believes will make Sunset better in time. Some of the key staff are new. Aimee Krieger, program coordinator, has been there only a short while, and Lori Walker, program specialist, won’t arrive until fall.

Programs have changed too. One example has been the introduction of women-only swims to address the community’s shifting demographics. And for the same reason, the center is offering many more swim lessons for adults who never had that opportunity in their native land.

Multiple times per week, Kathy Chaney (right) leads popular aquatic fitness classes in the shallow end of the pool.
Multiple times per week, Kathy Chaney (right) leads popular aquatic fitness classes in the shallow end of the pool.

Sunset is the only designated swim center in the district with a room dedicated to dryland fitness classes, which started about one year ago. They are taught by Lela Prewitt, who first began teaching at Sunset out of the Stuhr Center’s Wellness on Wheels van. When Leach made a full-time commitment to dryland fitness, she brought Prewitt aboard as her instructor.

“One of the greatest things about Sunset is Lori’s willingness to innovate and try new things,” Prewitt said.

On the aquatic fitness side, Kathy Chaney has excelled for about 20 years. Three mornings a week, she fills her shallow end of the pool with students who revel in her bright smile and encouragement.

“Sunset is the nicest pool,” Chaney said. “Everybody is easy-going, helpful and kind. I love working with the seniors and the kids.”

Sometimes the aquatic and dryland fitness programs complement one another. In fact, some students take Chaney’s high-energy class at 9 am, change into dry clothes and go downstairs to Prewitt’s tai chi or strength class at 10. That patron commitment to fitness has Leach and Krieger pondering ways to grow Sunset’s programs even more.

“I’d like to use the space even better and serve the population in as many ways as possible,” Krieger said. “Maybe a periodic outdoor yoga class, and for those who are a little bit more fitness experienced, a boot camp.”

“We have a high demand from the public,” Leach added, “and we want to provide the best programming we can.”

During the school year, Sunset High students also use the pool for water polo and swim teams.

For more information and schedules, visit the Sunset Swim Center website.

Sunset Swim Center facts

Employees: 4 full-time, about 40 part-time

Total annual participant visits: 73,000

Annual swim lesson visits: about 32,500

Annual fitness visits: 6,100

Gallons of water in pool: 146,084

Building square footage: 33,794

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Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2018