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Matt Gohlke / Pools

Tips can help make holiday swim party enjoyable

Although swim season started early this year because of the warm weather that we have recently experienced, Memorial Day weekend is traditionally considered the beginning of swim season.

If you are the pool owner, hopefully by now your plans are in place for this weekend — the yard is mowed, the food is planned, the guests are invited and the pool is ready.

Following are some last-minute tips to assure that your Memorial Day weekend will be an enjoyable one.


Be sure pool is ready

To avoid last-minute water problems such as cloudy water or a green pool, be sure that your pool water is balanced — have it professionally analyzed at a pool store before your party.

This preventative maintenance will help prevent eye and skin irritation that sometimes accompanies a weekend of swimming in a pool of unbalanced water. Eye and skin irritation are usually caused by insufficient sanitizer levels or incorrect pH levels.


Prepare area around pool

The area surrounding the pool will probably need some attention — such as mowing, trimming plants, cleaning the patio, etc.

Consider using container plants in the pool area to help dress it up. Also, do not forget to get rid of pests such as wasps and ants. It would probably be a good idea to have wasp spray on hand for any unwelcome pests that arrive.


Decorations, music

Decorations and music really help set the mood. Seasonal decorations really can add to the feel of the party. Paper products, such as tablecloths, plates, cups and napkins areavailable in a pool party theme.

Stores such as Party City, PJ’s Party Supply or Hobby Lobby are an excellent source for these festive decorations. For evening parties, try stringing Christmas lights along the fence and in the trees and shrubbery or use tiki torches.

Beach music (try some Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffet) really adds to pool parties and is available at music stores.



Pool safety should always be a concern. Many drownings and accidents occur during parties as children are often ignored while parents socialize.

It might be a good idea to either hire a lifeguard or have parents take shifts being the pool monitor (even provide a whistle and a list of pool rules if you feel it is necessary). If you are serving alcohol, be especially careful.

Make sure that your pool’s depth is known by the swimmers and what areas are safe for diving.

In addition, do not forget to keep plenty of water available as spending time in the sun can lead to dehydration.


Sun protection and eye/skin irritation

As you and your guests enjoy the party, you should be aware of the possibility of sun protectionand eye/skin irritation.

Applying sunscreen thoroughly and liberally is the key. Many times we overlook the fact that we need a waterproof sunscreen for use in pools.

Men with thinning hair should be extremely careful and apply sunscreen liberally to the top of the head or wear a hat. To prevent eye/skin irritation — be sure that the pool water is chemically balanced.

Once the damage is done, eye drops will usually provide relief for irritated eyes.

To treat irritated skin, take a cool shower and then apply a moisturizing lotion.


Pool games, activities

Although providing a pool and some food is usually enough to provide for your visiting guests, activities such as pool games and activities can really add to the party.

Following are some pool games and activities to add excitement to your party:

•  relay races

•  dive games

•  chicken fights

•  innertube races

•  water volleyball, basketball, baseball or football

•  scuba relay — Gather two sets of scuba gear (flippers, snorkel, and mask) and form two teams.

At the word “go!” the first player on each team puts on her team’s gear, jumps into the pool, swims to the other side and back, gets out of the water, and removes the gear. Then the next player does the same.

The first team to finish wins.This game can also be done with T-shirts, shorts and socks.

n sharks and minnows — This game is good for a large group.One person is the shark and starts in the middle of the pool.

All other players are minnows and start out of the water on one side of the deck.

The shark yells out “minnow!” and the minnows must jump in and try to swim to the other side of the pool without being tagged by the shark.

The minnows that get tagged become sharks and the game is replayed until only one minnow remains.

That person starts the new game as the shark.

In addition to these pool games and activities, there are many more that can be found online by searching Google for swimming pool games and activities.

The main thing to remember is that planning and delegation are the keys to having a good party that even you, the host, can enjoy.

Have a great weekend!

MATT GOHLKE, certified building professional, is the owner of Gohlke Pools and a member of the National Spa & Pool Institute, Aquatech (a society of pool building professionals), Better Business Bureau and an authorized dealer of Bioguard and Baquacil. His firm has received many national awards, certifications and recognitions in the swimming pool industry. He may be reached at 940-387-7521.