Katanning Aquatic Centre is under new management and the team is keen to ramp up programs and get more people swimming this summer. The centre, which opened to the public at the start of November, is under local management for the first time in seven years. “It’s really hard for out-of-town people to run the right programs for Katanning because they don’t know what’s needed,” centre manager Serena Sandwell said. “The last three years the centre was managed by Belgravia Leisure, the four years before that was YMCA, and prior to that it was managed by the Shire. “Even though we have had local pool staff, it’s the first time we have had a local manager in seven years.” The Katanning Aquatic Sports committee has taken over the management of the centre. The group was formed two years ago by Katanning residents who wanted to encourage more people to use the pool. “When we saw the management of the centre was up for offer we decide to apply,” said Katanning Aquatic Sports chairwoman Lisa Forman said. “All our staff this year live locally. “The centre is offering job opportunities for the young people in town.” Facilities on offer include a toddler’s pool with a water fountain, a learn to swim pool, 50m lap swimming pool, pool hoist for people with disability and change rooms. The centre has a kiosk, a free BBQ area, picnic facilities and a children’s playground. “The biggest thing we are looking at this season is to get the programming running, because if it’s cold, nobody comes, but if they are booked into a program, they come anyway,” Ms Sandwell said “We have our swim club, our swimming lessons, aqua aerobics for all ages, we are going to have water polo if we can get there, underwater hockey, and synchronised swimming all going on.” The centre will also be focusing on running swimming lessons to improve swimming ability across Katanning’s multicultural community. “The number of kids that graduate primary school without being able to swim 50m is really concerning, so the more kids that we can get in swimming lessons the better,” Ms Sandwell said. “We will be running lessons right through from infant swimming to culturally and linguistically diverse swimming lessons, so we will have two to three classes going on as of this week.” The centre is almost 85 years old, making it one of the oldest purpose-built inland swimming pools in the State. “I think it’s really important to Katanning to have the swimming pool. It’s one of those central hubs for the region,” Ms Sandwell said. “There are a lot of towns around us that don’t have a pool or don’t have one running at the moment. “A lot of schools and people from other towns come to us, so it’s really important for us to have a really good venue that’s working really well.” A schedule of events and programs will be available on the centre’s website.