Up North: UMD Recreational Sports jet pool used for more than swimming

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The St. Louis County rescue squad is called to all kinds of emergencies here in the Northland and to prepare for that they hit the pool this past weekend.

“This 1950’s UMD pool is the only pool in the world that’s been retrofitted with river flow pumps. So we can, at the push of a button, turn our pool into a river,” stated pool coordinator Randy Carlson.

That’s right swift water rescue training took place at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Recreational Sports Outdoor Programs jet pool. A safe environment from practicing in real uncontrolled rivers, water falls or other types of moving water.

“UMD has been really awesome to host us here. They have jets and flow pumps put into their pool in the past year or two, and that’s going to allow us to simulate that swift water environment. Yet keep it very controlled so we can bring people who may might be a little bit newer to this or for people just brushing up on their skills,” added St. Louis County rescue squad SGT. Carter Nelson.

The pools new retrofitted technology uses various degrees of pumps and water circulation that mimics rushing rivers, dangerous lakes, and strong currents.

Allowing the trainees to use the different techniques they studied up on to stay above water and make it across.

“The swift water environment is actually a really aggressive environment. So the physicality of it is really intense,” said Sgt. Jenny Schwietz.

“First we kind of like to start with a really easy level to get peoples toes wet essentially. Then from there we show them what not to do. Like that’s really, really difficult if you do it this way and then we come back and we say, this is how you should actually do it, see how much easier that was,” continued Schwietz.

Still this trailblazing pool isn’t only meant for training purposes but also strong water sports, as UMD holds classes and events that simulate surfing, rafting waves, canoeing and much more.

“We are starting a new thing this summer that’s open swim with the flow pumps on. So everyone is welcome to come in, otherwise we offer surfing and kayaking and it’s also open for the public,” said Student Aquatic Director Cora Seroogy.

For information on the UMD pool and outdoor programs CLICK HERE.