Pool opens with new director at the helm
Summer is officially underway in Bonner Springs with the opening of its aquatic park, and this year a new aquatics director is at the helm.
Jordyn Swalley took over the position in the first week of April and has since been busy making sure the pool was ready for opening day, which was Saturday. Swalley said once she gets settled, she hopes to help the pool expand programming offerings.
Swalley is no stranger to small towns, growing up in Maryville, Mo., which has a population of about 12,000. It was there that she began working in aquatics at the municipal pool throughout most of high school and college.
“My boss there kind of took me under her wing and showed me everything there was to do with aquatics,” Swalley said.
She got a parks and recreation management degree from Northwest Missouri State University, graduating last August and taking a job in Pella, Iowa, where she was in charge of the city’s indoor pool. She would have helped with the city’s outdoor facility, as well — which she said is well-known for its many water entertainment features — but she accepted the position in Bonner Springs to return to the Kansas City area.
“I wanted to get back to the area and I wanted to start small and sort of make a home for myself,” Swalley said. “I think it’s nice to be able to start out in a small town and build it up and make sure it’s (operating) to its best potential.”
While Bonner’s pool isn’t quite as grandiose as Pella’s outdoor facility, Swalley said it is a bit more intricate than her hometown pool in Maryville.
“It’s pretty much the same size, except Bonner’s pool has a lot more entertainment factors, like the lily pads and the play structures and the floatables, whereas the Maryville pool doesn’t really have a lot other than your standard slides and diving boards,” she said.
Swalley ran into a few of those challenges right away, when the motor that runs the water through the pool’s slides began smoking upon its first use, but thankfully was fixed just in time for the pool’s opening day Saturday.
“With a pool you’re always going to have those things,” she said. “I think so far, the city’s done a wonderful job to help us in anything that could possibly happen. We’ve had a few surprises, but we’ve been able to recover from them pretty well.”
Swalley hopes to have a greater turnout for the Dolphins swim team this summer, as they have done some additional promotion, and swim lesson participation may improve with the addition of a Saturday morning session.
The only additional programming based at the pool this summer will be membership nights, during which those who have purchased memberships may come after the pool closes on a weekend night for music and games.
“I hope to add more activities to the pool, it will just depend on the time and the interests of Bonner Springs,” Swalley said. “This first year I’m just trying to get level and make sure the pool is running before I try and change anything too much.”
The Bonner Springs Aquatic Park, 1200 S. 134th St., is open 12-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 12-7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The swim team meets 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday, and lap swimming/toddle time is available 11-11:45 a.m. on weekdays. Admission is $5 daily, while a 10-visit pass is available for $40.
Register for memberships and programs at the pool or contact the pool at 913-422-7011.