gmhTODAY 14 gmhToday May June 2017 | Page 32

32 of swimming, and we want our kids to have fun.” Rick helped establish the Splash program as one of its first coaches and she’s been involved with the Aquatics Center since it opened. “It’s very important to me that it’s successful and does well at meeting those goals.” In addition, she said, “We’ve had really great swimmers who’ve gone on to become really successful in high school and college.” Moreover, Rick added, “It’s not just about swimming. It’s about making friends too. It’s been really rewarding for me to see friendships created between kids who would have never met because they go to different schools”—that includes Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. “We do our best to teach kids all the strokes and get in shape, but it’s more than that. It’s about having fun.” Rick has worked with children who are nervous about competing in the meets. “We tell parents to encourage them to participate in one or two events. We’ll make sure it’s their favorite event.” She explains to the kids that swimming is an individual as well as a team sport. “I try to tell them to compete within themselves and not worry about everyone else.” In addition to the swim team, the Aquatics Center offers year-round lap swimming and aqua fitness classes. During the summer, pool hours are expanded for open swim and swim lessons. In fact, swim lessons are available at both the Aquatics Center and at the CRC, beginning with classes for parents and their infants, classes for children and teens, even private lessons for adults. “If someone wants to learn to swim, we’ll find a way to teach them,” Rick said. Open swim at the Aquatics Center begins after Memorial Day, including the competition pool, a spray toy, a shallow area, two water slides, diving boards, an inflatable obstacle course, and an instructional pool. CRC members may use the Aquatics Center at no additional cost. There are also drop-in rates for both the Aquatics Center and the CRC facility for Morgan Hill residents and non-residents, based on age. Visit online to learn more. Water Fun at Gilroy Gardens Michael Fulcher has worked as the operations manager, including the aquatics manager, for nine years at Gilroy Gardens. Fulcher listed the Gardens’ most popular water attractions as Water Oasis, Splash Garden, and Splash and Squirt. Water Oasis was opened in 2016 and will expanded next year. “It’s always filled,” Fulcher said. “People can’t get enough of it.” First, there are “water journeys” for very young children, who can watch toys pump and flow into channels to see how water flows. Along the channels, the children find tips on how to conserve water. “This exhibit aligns with our whole signage about water conservation and where our water comes from,” Fulcher said. Also within Water Oasis, Splash Path contains large structures such as flowers, and it rains down water when the chil- dren push buttons. The kids can race through the interactive process to fill buckets, which dump water. According to Fulcher, the main attraction in Water Oasis is the Lagoon, which has two water slides, and a wading pool one and-a-half feet deep, where kids can splash and swim around. Closer to shore, the water is shallower, with toys that shoot streams of water. At GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2017 the deepest point, there are small water slides with jets at the top. Lifeguards are posted throughout Water Oasis. “What makes Water Oasis special is because it’s such a tropical atmosphere, with six cabanas that you can rent,” Fulcher explained. “And with them comes a couch, shade, service from the restaurant at the touch of a button, pizza for the family, drinks—it makes it like a loungy area, great for adults while kids play.” Fulcher added that Water Oasis tends to attract kids who are eight to ten years old. Kids aged two to eight should also explore the park’s other two main water areas: Splash Garden and Splash and Squirt. Splash Garden shoots water from the ground as children stomp around. Splash and Squirt contains more interactive water features, according to Fulcher. Children use water guns to shoot at a pile of crates, decorated with wind chimes and spinning objects. There’s also a slide in the shape of a circus tree, where water rains down the center allowing kids to get wet, even though it’s technically not a water slide. Fulcher said, “People really like the educational connection Splash and Squirt makes with water conservation and water works.” Learn more at