By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
A beloved swim instructor who has taught thousands of children how to swim is getting unexpected help building a pool that meets the latest safety requirements.
Mary McCool has been teaching children how to swim for 45 years.
She started at age 17 as a lifeguard at Juniper Pool.
She quickly branched out and started giving private lessons which were then and to this day, hugely popular.
“She is such a good coach,” said Ashley Morgan, whose three children ages 3, 5 and 7, learned to swim under McCool’s tutelage.
Mary stopped giving swim lessons during the COVID pandemic but also because health officials said the private pool in her home didn’t meet safety requirements.
So, she’s building a new indoor pool on her property that has the required stairs into the shallow end and wider decks, among other improvements.
“I like the little kids to be able to stand up. I think that’s important that they feel a little bit of independence,” McCool said. “I had to change it a little bit but, in most respects, it’s going to be very much the same.”
Building a commercial pool pushed costs beyond Mary’s means.
A grateful parent set up a GoFundMe account to save Mary McCool’s Swim School…and in less than a week it raised $13,000/
“I think she has a lot of fans. People love Mary,” Morgan said. “I think she has a lot of kids that can’t wait to get back to her pool… a lot of families that can’t wait to get that structure back into their lives.”
The fundraising goal of $45,000 is a small percentage of new pool construction costs but should be enough to complete the project and allow Mary to continue pursuing her lifelong passion of teaching children how to swim.
“I’m not ready to stop teaching. It’s just taking me a little longer to get stuff done than I anticipated,” she said.
Mary is making tiles with pictures of her many swim lesson clients to line the walls of the new pool, which she hopes will be ready for use this spring or early summer.