REGINA -- The City of Regina’s Lawson pool offered swimmers a place to stay in their lane, as it re-opened for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.

“As you can see it is bright, it is shiny, it’s like brand new,” said the city’s manager of facilities, Mike Powell.

The forced closures provided an opportunity for the city to do some maintenance upgrades.

Roughly every five years, the pool is drained and closed for a significant amount of time.

Upgrades were scheduled to take place in 2021, but the city decided to get ahead of the game by utilizing the closure time.

It also won’t have to close for two weeks in August for yearly maintenance.

The Lawson pool in Regina.

The basin of the pool was repaired and repainted, among other updates, Powell said.

“We also did some structural work on the dive towers and completed a number of preventative maintenance activities on our pumps and operating systems,” he said.

The facility currently has a 75 person limit in the pool, down from approximately 500 that were allowed before.

Staff have done enhanced cleaning on frequent touch points, including rails and flutter boards.

As a precaution, the city is limiting shower and locker room use.

Powell said people don’t have to worry about COVID-19 spreading through the water.

“We do know that the chlorine in the pool will kill the virus and so there’s no concerns with that in the water,” he said.

Competitive swimmers, divers, and water polo players haven’t had many opportunities to train, but the re-opening will soon see them return to the pool.

“It not only serves leisure opportunities, but it serves our competitive organizations as well, so speed swimming and diving and water polo all have opportunities to continue and work out here,” Powell said.

Warren Lister, a regular user of the Lawson Pool, said it’s been tough not being able to swim for the past few months.

“The outdoor pools not being open has sort of made the problem even worse,” Lister said.

Two of the city’s outdoor pools are under construction. However the Regent Outdoor Pool will be opening on Friday.

The Lawson recommends swimmers book a time slot ahead of time.

Patrons are allowed to book an hour long time slot, up to three times per week. Registration opens on Friday for booking times of the following week.