During the Y’s Open Swim, please keep safety in mind. Lap swimmers, please don’t ignore proper lap swim protocol:

  • Lap Swimming Tips: Please enter the pool from the shallow end. To avoid accidents, when entering an occupied lane, please get the first swimmer’s acknowledgement that you are there. Please get kickboards, pull buoys, etc., before entering the pool.
  • Directions: If there are one or two swimmers in the lane, they must split the lane in half. The entrance of a third person immediately changes the lane to “circle” swimming format.


For aquatic patrons ages 13 and under

Children are the victims in nearly half of all drownings in the US each year according to the Center for Disease Control. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related deaths for children 13 and under with nearly half of those children drowning in guarded pools. In additional, five times as many children are victims of near-drowning incidents each year.

The Mahaska County YMCA is committed to implementing proven prevention efforts to ensure that children who swim in our pool are safe. To end that, according to industry standards, children ages 13 and under will be tested to evaluate swimming competency. Any child that does not take or pass the swim test will be restricted from deep water but may still gain access to the shallow end of the pool.


  • Child must swim continuously for 25 yards without touching walls, lane line, or bottom of the pool.
  • Child must tread water for at least 1 minute.
  • Swimmers must pass both tests to be considered for the green wristband.

Swimmers who pass, will receive a GREEN wristband and gain full access to the pool.

Swimmers that do not pass or do not wish to take the test, will receive a RED wristband and will be required to stay in the shallow with a life jacket on while in the pool.

Children who receive a red band may swim without a life jacket IF the 4 feet shallow end hits under their armpit.

This policy will be strictly adhered to at all times and does not substitute the need for a parent/guardian of at least 18 years of age to be on the pool deck. Patrons to which the Aquatics Youth Supervision Policy applies can be tested once weekly.


At the Mahaska County YMCA swimming is serious fun, but so is safety. That’s why we would like to remind you of our indoor pool severe weather policy.

The indoor pool will remain open at the discretion of the management staff during thunderstorms. We reserve the right to close the pool if severe weather is in the direct vicinity and poses a significant threat. Indoor pools will close immediately when a tornado warning has been issued in the area. All members and staff will receive instruction for the safest location inside the facility while the area is under a tornado warning. Once the warning has been lifted, all swimming pools will re-open.

The YMCA of the USA and the National Lightning and Safety Institute recommend that indoor pools should be cleared during a lightning and thunderstorm. We follow the 30-minute rule. This means that all YMCA pools (indoor and outdoor) close for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder and/or strike of lightning within a 2 mile radius or the area.

“A lot of members want to know why we close our indoor pools during a storm,” says George Allen, YMCA of the Triangle Vice President of Risk Management. “Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Just because a pool is surrounded by a structure does not make it safe during a storm.”


  • Lightning kills more people in the U.S. than hurricanes and tornados combined.
  • The average storm is 6-10 miles wide and moves at 25 MPH.
  • 13 percent of all lightning incidents involve swimming, boating, and fishing.
  • Thunder is usually heard up to 12 miles from a lightning strike. In other words, if you can hear thunder, you’re in danger of lightning.
  • Lightning strikes can reach up to 10 miles.

That’s why we follow the National Weather Service motto: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.